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Jussi Jaaskelainen of West Ham looks dejected at the end of the game - Wigan Athletic vs West Ham United, Barclays Premier League at the DW Stadium, Wigan - 27/10/12 - MANDATORY CREDIT: Rob Newell/TGSPHOTO - Self billing applies where appropriate - 0845 094 6026 - firstname.lastname@example.org - NO UNPAID USE.
Dave Evans, West Ham Correspondent
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Hammers goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen holds his hands up for his part in Wigan’s second goal on a bad day for West Ham
West Ham goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen knows full well the fine line between success and failure at this level in English football.
Earlier in the season his mistake kicked-off a miserable afternoon at Swansea City and though he has been pretty solid since that day in Wales, the self-critical Finland international goalkeeper was holding his hands up again at Wigan on Saturday.
Mind you, his poor clearance that led to the decisive second goal for the Latics on Saturday was not alone in the catalogue of lost possession and poor passing that littered the match at the DW Stadium.
This was a terrible team performance on the day and the final score of 2-1 to the home side really flattered lacklustre West Ham.
“It felt like we didn’t really turn up in the first half,” admitted the 37-year-old veteran goalkeeper after the match.
“I don’t know what it was other than we didn’t turn up either as individuals or as a team. It is disappointing when you consider the way we have been playing this season that we didn’t reach those levels.”
It is not the first time of course. That game at Swansea was more about individual errors than a collective mediocrity, but just seven days prior against Southampton, we saw another stale performance by the Hammers as Jaaskelainen acknowledged.
“Last week it was a similar kind of game in the fact that we didn’t really turn up in the first half and then we got two goals at the start of the second half to give us a lift to win the game,” he said.
“In the second half against Wigan we just gave them a goal at the start and that was always going to be hard for us from there.”
Goalkeepers are all perfectionists of course and despite plenty happening afterwards, the Finn was holding his hands up for a poor clearance that helped Wigan to grab that second goal.
“Always when I look back at a game, I see things like half a miskick that I did and that is how they went and scored the second goal, but that is how it is in the Premier League.”
Jaaskelainen may have been partly culpable for that goal, but there were other occasions when he was equal to the task and saved West Ham from further punishment.
He denied both James McCarthy and Franco Di Santo in the first half, while his superb block from Aroune Kone right at the death shows why he is so valued by West Ham boss Sam Allardyce.
“There wasn’t too many saves to make,” he said. “The first goal was the first set-piece we have let in this season, but it was a great finish and if he wants to try and do that again – good luck to him.
“At the end of the day it is my job top make the saves,” said the modest keeper. “If I don’t make those saves then somebody else would do it.”
Perhaps, but with Stephen Henderson currently out on loan, West Ham have a 19-year-old rookie in Swiss youngster Raphael Spiegel sitting on the bench.
That means West Ham are relying on the experience and the skills of Jaaskelainen to keep the Premier League strikers at bay.