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Cottee Column: West Ham First-day defeat puts pressure on trip to the Palace

Cottee Column Cottee Column

Thursday, August 21, 2014
2:48 PM

Hammers legend Tony Cottee talks us over his penalty record

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West Ham United's Mark Noble misses from the penalty spot during the Barclays Premier League match at Upton Park, London.West Ham United's Mark Noble misses from the penalty spot during the Barclays Premier League match at Upton Park, London.

The one thing you don’t want to do is lose your first game of the season, especially when it is at home and especially when it is against Tottenham Hotspur.

And so Saturday’s 1-0 defeat was a hugely disappointing one, not because the performance was a bad one, but because we didn’t take our chances and then we didn’t respect the point by making sure we held on at the death.

I am not attaching any blame to Mark Noble for his penalty miss. I know what he is going through and having now missed one in the last 18, it is still a great record.

I was a striker, but I confess I never liked taking penalties. I didn’t like the stage-managed situation of a spot-kick compared to open play. Someone like Alan Shearer loved them as it added to his goal tally, but I never felt the same.

I probably took about 12 in my time at West Ham and Everton and maybe scored half of them.

I remember a cup tie at Chelsea for Everton when we were 1-0 down and I was brought down for a penalty. I picked the ball up to give it to whoever was taking it and everyone had bolted off in different directions.

I took the responsibility, saw my spot-kick saved by Kevin Hitchcock and we lost 1-0 – penalties are not for me!

Tomorrow (Saturday) sees us go to Crystal Palace and it may be a good time to go there as they are not likely to have a new manager in place before the game.

It was a strange situation between the old boss and the chairman. I like Tony Pulis and Steve Parish, but clearly they didn’t see eye to eye. They didn’t play badly at Arsenal at the weekend, but they will have been affected by the uncertainty behind the scenes at the club.

If the Hammers had got a point against Spurs, it would have taken some of the pressure off at Selhurst Park, but I think we should get at least a 1-1 draw.

All the teams have played one game now and I am tipping Chelsea for the Premier League title, just as I did last season.

They saw off Burnley with few problems on Monday and they have bought wisely, so I think if either Manchester City or Arsenal finish above Chelsea, then they will have won the title.

I’m hoping to be at Upton Park on Tuesday for the Capital One Cup tie with Sheffield United. It will be good to see some of the new players and also the youngsters and I am looking forward to it.

Come on you Hammers!!

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