West Ham defender looks for bounce back against Swansea City
PUBLISHED: 15:30 26 February 2018
Collins: Liverpool defeat will not define our season
West Ham defender James Collins still looked a bit shell-shocked when he came into the mixed zone on Saturday.
Perhaps it was the bitterly cold weather, or maybe it was because him and the defence had been run ragged by Liverpool in the second half.
It was never much fun for West Ham teams going to Anfield.
It was way back in 1963 that the Hammers triumphed at the home of the mighty Reds, until Slaven Bilic’s side bucked that trend with a 3-0 win there in 2015, followed by two draws.
But normal service was resumed on Saturday as the rampant Reds ran rings round the Hammers to ease to a 4-1 win.
“It was a tough afternoon and it was expected to be honest,” said Collins. “They way they have been playing and scoring goals it was always going to be hard.”
Some teams have just one striker you have to be wary of, but in Liverpool’s case, like Manchester City, they come at you from all angles.
Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane all scored on the day and could have had more, such was the way they cut through the West Ham defence.
“They have a bit of everything,” said the 34-year-old veteran. “They play sort of slowly and suck you into a false sense of security, but when they get around the box they speed things up.
“We didn’t deal with that in the second half, the way we did in the first.”
That first half was a strange one. Liverpool had most of the possession, but the ever dangerous Marko Arnautovic twice tested keeper Loris Karius with stunning shots that deserved goals.
“In the first half I thought we played well,” insisted Collins. “We said it in the dressing room, if you go one up, then anything can happen.
“We were disappointed to go in at half time 1-0 down, because we thought we played pretty well.
“We had coped with them, so to come out second half and not play in the way we wanted to and to take a step back was disappointing.
“They took advantage of that by scoring some goals.”
Perhaps understandably, Collins was keener to talk about the future than what had just happened.
“This will not define out season,” he said. “We were not expected to come here and get three points.
“We have to go to Swansea next and then at home to Burnley and pick up the points. I have just said in the dressing room that we have to let this one go and concentrate on the next one.
“A lot of teams have come here and got steamrollered, so we will move on and go to Wales for a massive game at the weekend.”
The Hammers dropped a place in the Premier League table after this defeat and are just three points above the drop zone, but the Welshman insisted that the team is still confident.
“Morale is good,” he said. “We had a good couple of weeks training after an excellent result against Watford, so spirits are high.
“We have some great characters in that dressing room. I don’t want it to be too doom and gloom. If we had got anything at Liverpool, a lot of people would have thought of it as a bonus.
“Now we must go to Swansea on Saturday and get a result.”
There certainly are some strong characters in the West Ham dressing room determined to get them through this and Collins is one of the strongest.