West Ham’s Winston: The secret of stopping Romelu Lukaku
PUBLISHED: 18:00 24 April 2017
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West Ham defender showed his calmness as the team stopped the prolific Everton striker
Nine games, nine goals for Romelu Lukaku against West Ham, so it was little wonder that the main aim for the Hammers on Saturday was to stop him in his tracks.
They did exactly that with a battling defensive display which not only made the Belgian international a spectator for most of the game, it also resulted in Everton failing to register a shot on target in the whole match.
One of the principal players in stopping Lukaku was returning defender Winston Reid who was part of a brick wall of three defenders alongside Jose Fonte and James Collins.
So what was the secret? Reid shrugged.
“Keep tight to him,” he muttered. “If you don’t let him turn then he is not going to score, it is not difficult to work out.”
It certainly has been difficult to work out in those last nine matches as Lukaku has ran riot among the West Ham defence.
“You need to try and keep him away from the goal, I know it is pretty boring, but it is simple I guess.
“I think we did well. James and Jose were really good, but I think the people in front did well too. Havard put in a good shift and it is a long time since he has been in the team.”
Modest to a fault, Reid played his part too as he marked Lukaku and stepped in with a couple of impressive interceptions to stop the big man in his tracks.
It was the New Zealand international’s first game back from injury, so how did it go for him?
“It was all right,” he said in his usual self-effacing way. “I had three or four days of training with the team, so I was never going to be 100 per cent match fit, but I had a couple of old boys beside me to do all the running for me!”
Some would say it was a defensive line-up for the Hammers on Saturday with three centre backs, but Reid disputed that.
“It can work,” he said. “It might be three or five at the back, whatever you want to call it, but at times Jose had to go out to the flank and cover, as did myself and James. It was more a case of knowing when to go and when not to.”
West Ham were solid at the back and in midfield, but it seemed that paid for that solidity with less of an attacking threat as Reid pointed out.
“We had to get Manuel (Lanzini) and Andre (Ayew) into good positions as well,” he said. “I guess if you look at it we lacked the sharpness in our final ball today, but I think earlier in the season we would have lost this game.”
In the end it was another point to all but secure safety and the curtain is coming down on what has been a strange season for the Hammers.
“I think we players have been on a rollercoaster ride and so first and foremost we need to finish strongly,” said the 28-year-old who has been at the club since 2012.
“It has not been easy, we changed stadiums and there were big changes around the squad. That is no excuse but we will certainly learn from it.
“We have got a young squad and I am sure they are going to learn from this.”
Hopefully West Ham have now learnt how to cope with Lukaku as well.