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West Ham skipper: We did not take Premier League survival for granted

Kevin Nolan v wba Kevin Nolan v wba

Monday, April 28, 2014
11:38 AM

Hammers captain Kevin Nolan insists that he did not hear the West Ham boo-boys at The Hawthorns

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Kevin Nolan, West Ham UnitedKevin Nolan, West Ham United

West Ham skipper Kevin Nolan has insisted that the team did not switch off and take survival for granted after reaching 10th in the Premier League table.

After a superb February of four wins on the trot as well as five goals for Nolan, things have not gone downhill again and four defeats on the trot have left them still needing to find a bit extra to make themselves safe.

But Nolan says that the team have not taken their eye off the ball.

“Have you met Sam?” asked the 31-year-old top goalscorer. “Then you know that we wouldn’t have done that. It has been a difficult period.”

It certainly has, but Nolan believes that they have been unfortunate to lose all of them.

“If you look back at the last four games, I can honestly say that in three of them we didn’t deserve to lose,” he insisted. “Liverpool, Crystal Palace we didn’t deserve to lose and again against West Brom, but it is happening.

“Last year we won games that we probably didn’t deserve to, but this year it hasn’t happened that way. We had lucky escapes before, but we have never really scrapped it out this season apart from the Chelsea game. It is something we have got to learn quickly and hopefully next season we will do it a lot better.”

So what has gone wrong for the Hammers in the last few games? It is not too difficult to work out. Since fantastic February, West Ham have lost seven of their last nine games and scored seven goals of which Nolan has failed to hit the target.

Saturday’s game at The Hawthorns was a similar story as the captain admitted.

“I think it was the same last week against Crystal Palace and that is our Achilles heel at the moment, we just can’t put the ball in the back of the net,” he said. “The lads are disappointed that we are not able to do that at the moment, but it is just something we need to keep working on.

“We are looking for an easy chance that we can bang in from a couple of yards out.”

The West Ham fans have certainly turned against manager Sam Allardyce in recent games, protesting against the boss during Saturday’s defeat, but Nolan insists that the whole team have to take it on the chin.

“To be fair, I didn’t really hear the fans today,” he said. “I thought the West Brom fans were fantastic, they made a lot of noise and they knew the importance of the game.

“There was a bit of talk about it in the dressing room afterwards and some of the lads were disappointed with it, but at the end of the day we have to take it on the chin. It is up to us to make sure they are cheering for us and we have to do that by winning games.

“We know the fans are nervous, but we are nervous too. We need them to be as much behind us as we are behind them. We understand the frustrations, they have their own opinions and they are going to voice them, they pay to come in and they have a right to do that, but we have to take that as footballers and we have.”

Saturday sees Tottenham come to Upton Park and the skipper believes that they can finish the season with a bang and get the fans back on their side again.

“I will be up for it and I am sure the fans will be at home as well,” he said. “We want to give them the result they deserve for the season that we have been put through this year and once we have done that we can all go him happy, knowing that we are safely in the Premier League.

“It would finish the season off in a nice way, but we know we are not going to get it east, we are going to have to work hard, but we need to make sure we get over the line ourselves and not wait for anyone else to do it for us.

“I am looking forward to putting Tottenham to be for the third time this season.”

All West Ham fans are thinking that, but the team will have to find their shooting boots if they are to manage it.

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