By CandH’s top blogger Allen Cummings
You can’t always win ‘pretty’ – sometimes winning ‘ugly’ has to suffice!
West Ham’s 3-2 victory over Silkeborg was one of those ugly occasions. At least the second half was. 3-1 up at half time and we looked to be cruising. That’s surely what we all thought as we watched from the comfort of our armchairs and to be fair it looked as if one or two of the players were thinking that way, too.
Last Thursday David Moyes made a triple substitution in the second half against FCSB which ultimately won us the game. In Denmark the same plan seemed to have the reverse effect.
But who at the time thought the introduction of Tomas Soucek, Said Benrahma and Jarrod Bowen would weaken the team? I certainly didn’t – and clearly Moyes didn’t either.
But it was Jarrod who conceded sloppy possession in the middle of the park, of which the home side took full advantage. making the final 15 minutes of the game very testing indeed – for our nerves if nothing else.
But all’s well that ends well. We now sit proudly at the top of Group B with six points from two games. The win over Silkeborg was our fourth straight win in Europe and we have scored three times in every game we’ve played. I’m sure we’d have settled for that before a ball had been kicked in the competition.
It shouldn’t be underestimated how different and how difficult it must be playing on an alien surface like the Silkeborg plastic pitch. The Danish side play on it regularly and are familiar with its peculiarities – that has to be an advantage.
As Craig Dawson commented after the game: “It was a difficult pitch to play on, at times it was scrappy, a bit sloppy, but we got the win in the end.” As an old pro Daws knows that’s what mattered.
Twenty-four hours earlier a team of the calibre of Manchester City huffed and puffed against Borussia Dortmund and were 10 minutes away from a shock home defeat before two late, late goals rescued their night.
I’m sure Pep Guardiola wouldn’t have been happy with the performance, but he would have been delighted with the eventual result, sentiments expressed by David Moyes in his post-match presser.
Successive victories over FCSB and Silkeborg keep our winning mentality going as we head for Goodison Park on Sunday. Everton at home will be a tough nut to crack, but we should be in the right shape and frame of mind to tackle the job.