Monday, 3 September 2007

Reflections On Reading

Following a few frantic days of injury trauma and transfer deadlines, Alan Curbishley can now allow himself to smile as he heads into international week, buoyed by the sight of his Hammers sitting in 11th spot in the Premiership. Speaking on the official site, Curbishley declared: "The win at Reading was a great result for us after a bad week in which we saw Kieron Dyer get a very nasty injury. Compared to last season, a totally different side turned up, but the events of January weren't the spur because we came here knowing that we already had some good away form behind us. The defence gave us a base and we got a good start thanks to a fantastic goal from Craig Bellamy, which settled it all down but after that I was getting a bit frustrated because we needed to finish the game off."

Matty Etherington scored a brace to help the Hammers to a convincing 3-0 victory and although he did not play the last time the two teams met he still understood how important it was to put that result to bed. "A lot was said before the game about how we needed to get the right result to put January's defeat behind us and I think we have done that quite convincingly now and to be fair could have scored a few more," admitted Etherington. "This is a really tough place to come so this is a great result for the team. There is a lot of competition for places here at the moment and the manager brought in a lot of good quality over the Summer so we all have to work that much harder to win our place in the team. I got my head down over pre-season and worked hard, came off the bench against Man City and got my place in the team and now I just need to make sure I keep it. I am obviously really delighted to get the two goals but I probably should have had a hat-trick to be fair. I was pleased with the way I took my goals and I just want to go on and keep scoring."

"In the end, I was pleased that Matthew Etherington found the net with a couple of goals because he needed them," stated Curbishley. "Since Luis Boa Morte came in there's been a bit of a tussle between the two of them but he worked hard in pre-season and, just like Lee Bowyer recently, Matty's grabbed his opportunity. Hayden Mullins has also seen me go out and sign players yet he's managed to stay in the side too and I'm delighted for the all boys who have come into the team because they've really stepped up to the plate. I've got a decent squad full of players, who have proved that they can come in and do the job for me," acknowledged the Hammers' boss, who pre-match had still been grafting well into the early hours, having just lengthened the Upton Park roll-call by signing Nolberto Solano and Henri Camara with just minutes to spare before the transfer window slammed shut.

Speaking about the new arrivals, Curbishley said: "With all our injuries, we had to do something on deadline day and both our chairman Eggert Magnusson and his number two Scott Duxbury worked ever so hard to bring two players in. I was welcoming the players to the Club at around 1:00 a.m. yet earlier, as midnight approached, we hadn't even been sure whether anything was going to happen. Then suddenly everything went through - we only signed Henri Camara with four minutes to spare - and we're delighted. Henri's always been a bit of a threat whenever he's played against us, while Nolberto Solano can play at right midfield or right-back. Although some of my signings are out injured, I've brought in players of the right age with proven quality and a bit of hunger. We're pleased with the business we've done and, hopefully, we can go on and have a decent season."

The lack of fit bodies is clearly something that has played on the manger's mind. "Once again, our injuries tested us against Reading but we still put on a great display," continued Curbishley, who was able to give Dean Ashton his first Premiership start for over a year. "Deano was a bit disappointed about coming off midway through the second half because he felt he could have done a bit more but I just felt that we needed to get a bit more pace onto the pitch to try and get a third goal. We've been managing him and although, as expected, he found it a little bit difficult at the start, we're delighted that he's got another hour under his belt and now he's got two weeks to work a little bit harder so that he can push on even further."

Two more stars on the comeback trail are Scott Parker and Freddie Ljungberg. An article in today's Mail says both players could be fit for their next match against Middlesbrough. Parker, a £7million summer signing from Newcastle, has been out for almost two months with knee ligament problems while Ljungberg has been suffering from a groin injury. Both are making good progress and could be back in just under two weeks' time, which will only add to the buoyant mood going into the international break.

Anton Ferdinand put Saturday's victory over Reading down to an excellent team display and was particularly happy to prove the last visit to the Madjeski was just a one off. "It was definitely good for me personally as well as the team, to put that result behind me as that was not a good day for anyone involved. This time, it was just an all-round good performance with another clean-sheet away from home and three good goals. To be fair we could have probably beaten them by about 6 but were not quite clinical enough with some of our finishing, but three goals was enough on the day to give us a good solid victory to take into this international break. We were definitely pleased with how we performed defensively, we were very organised and were making some good blocks. Leroy Lita is a good friend of mine from the under 21s so I especially wanted to play well against him and be top of my game so I had the bragging rights! The whole back-line did very well but then so did everyone else, it was a great team performance which is very positive as it means we are playing well as team and not just as individuals which is pleasing for the Manager as well."

Matthew Upson and Ferdinand have formed a consistent pairing in the League already this season and Anton is pleased with the way things are working out with his new defensive partner. "Matty is a very good player and it was very frustrating for him to be out last season, he was just getting back into playing competitive games for ninety minutes for the first couple of games but he is really settling into the team now and we seem to be creating a good partnership together but we both know there are some very good other centre-backs at this Club also desperate to play so we have to keep playing well week in week out to stay in the team."

Another England hopeful also continued his excellent recent form with his fifth clean sheet in the last eight Premiership games. "Robert Green's made a good start for us," observed Curbishley, who was relieved to see his goalkeeper save a late Kevin Doyle penalty to extinguish any hopes of a Royals' recovery. "I don't think that Greeny's done anything wrong for me, he's been solid. With the England boys always watching him, he must be getting some good reports from them right now."

Finally, the Mail think West Ham United could be ordered to pay huge compensation to Sheffield United if the latest inquiry into the Carlos Tevez affair rules in favour of the relegated Yorkshire club. In the latest piece of anti-West Ham rhetoric, the paper reveals that the FA arbitration process has unlimited powers - unlike the Premier League hearing that sympathised with Sheffield but could not reinstate them. The case centres on the eligibility of Tevez and Javier Mascherano and Sheffield United chairman Kevin McCabe is claiming damages of up to £50m. An unnamed FA source said: "The panel will have whatever powers they need. They can order recompense."


Ritchie said...

This saga has run its course. Sheffield United need to be made to understand that they are in the ccc because of their own doing. All they had to do was win at home on the last day of the season and it would have been Wigan, not them. They played that game knowing full well that West Ham United had no chance of winning at Old Trafford on the day Manchester United were due to collect the league trophy and played accordingly. Do they also remember playing West Ham United on the 14th 0f April when they won 3-0 with Tevez playing? They continue to clutch at straws and McCabe is making them a total laughing stock. I hope Sheffield United continue in the lower divisions never to grace the EPL again. That is a bit unfair on the fans of Sheffield United and I feel they have been led up the garden path. There is a chance that West Ham United and Sheffield United could meet again in the last 16 of the Carling Cup. The way football pans out, I would not bet on that scenario not happening.

spread bet said...

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Are the football managers of today given enough time? I personally believe time is the answer - look at fergie at man u and Wenger at arsenal... My beloved Newcastle will never improve unless a manager with reasonable knowledge of the game is given time to put structures in place... I know its a cliché, but these people in the media and at this spread betting company site are putting the pressure on Chairmen and club owners to sack managers without thinking about long term managers. It angers me intensely reading the kind of stuff i saw on sporting index this morning! Read it for yourself and let me know what you think...

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