Hammers are tough as nails, insists Green
Robert Green believes West Ham can maintain their European challenge in the closing weeks of the season because they have shed their reputation as soft touches
By JONATHAN CLEGG
Robert Green believes West Ham can maintain their European challenge in the closing weeks of the season because they have shed their reputation as soft touches.
The Hammers withstood strong second-half pressure to secure a 1-1 draw at Blackburn last weekend and pick up a valuable point in the race for Europa League qualification.
The battling display at Ewood Park was the latest in a series of resilient performances, which are at odds with the club's traditional reputation as eye-catching entertainers at home, and puny pushovers on their travels.
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Yet Green is adamant that the Hammers are now capable of coming through a scrap after developing the mental toughness to stand up to a physical challenge.
He said: "It was a backs-to-the-wall job at Blackburn - they are very difficult to play against and we needed every inch of player we had today.
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"Considering the restrictions we had on players, we played well in patches, scored a wonderful goal and we battled and battled.
"When you concede five minutes into the second half and playing with the crowd on your back, it was a game that in seasons gone by, we could have crumbled.
"But everyone defended with their lives and you're walking off the pitch thinking we've worked hard for a point, and a point away in the Premier League is always a good one."
Hammers No1 Green epitomised the club's newfound resolve at Ewood Park, commanding his penalty area just days after he was elbowed in the face by West Brom's Jonas Olsson.
The England international required smelling salts before he could continue against the Baggies, but Green showed no ill effects at Blackburn as the Hammers survived an aerial bombardment in the closing stages.
"My tongue is still hanging off a bit [but] I've had worse whacks than the one on Monday and picked myself up," said Green, who has kept his place in Fabio Capello's Three Lions squad for this week's matches against Solvakia and Ukraine.
"It is difficult against Blackburn - the ball was going to come into our box, that was inevitable, and some chances were going to fall to them.
"But everyone stood up to it and it was one of those games which you could enjoy in a perverse way. If we had kept a clean sheet, it would have been up there with the best of them.