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The new Irons: True grit and refusal to respect the point

Amid all the excitement and joy of returning to the creative pass and move football introduced to the club by Manuel Pellegrini let’s not overlook the true grit added to the team’s game.

The away clashes at Villa and Bournemouth – or games like them – would probably have been lost last season and before but in both matches we have seen serious application and a “they shall not pass” mentality emerging.

It is a reminder of what has gone before -notably under Allardyce – whose “respect the point” mantra comes from another land and another time.

Pellegrini only has one mantra “respect three points” added to: “if you have the ball they can’t score.”

I understand Pelle has been given more money to invest but the new attitude is all about mentality rather than cash as we saw yesterday at the Vitality.

Unlike some teams of ours in the past these lads just refused to give it up against a very difficult to to beat team whilst at Villa the application and determination with ten men was something to behold.

With Haller up front, Rice in midfield, Diop at the back and Fab between the sticks the Irons have a terrific spine.

Add the flair and readiness of the others to track back and do their share and you have a team that’s well  worthy  of their top three place.

Respect the point Sam – not on your life when a game can be won as the Hammers attempted to do right to the end of those games at Villa and the Vitality!

It’s still early days but I can’t help remembering the manager’s statement on arriving at the club: “I will not fail.”

He may do a lot better than that.


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About Hugh5outhon1895

Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!" Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon

4 comments on “The new Irons: True grit and refusal to respect the point

  1. Not much true grit displayed in the week at Oxford by all accounts. I respect your point about the change to a more attacking mentality that MP has sought to instill in the squad but I think it goes hand in hand with the purchase of players who can actually put his approach into practice. MP and Husillos have been astute in identifying players with a level of self-belief and a footballing intelligence to be able to do this – some were already at the club and some have been brought in.

    I’m not convinced that MP or any other coach for that matter can instill ‘true grit’ or a winner’s mentality into players – some have it and some don’t. That’s the same across all sports. Supporters and team-mates recognise it when we see it. It can be nurtured but in my opinion it has to be in there to start with. Those players with it give confidence to those around them and that’s where the importance of a strong spine is important – talented players with ‘stickability’ that can be relied on. Take too many parts of that spine away and things can crumble, like perhaps at Oxford.

  2. Is it true grit or a manager that is continually improving the team on and off the field ? We were weak defensively last season, the team now defend better as a whole unit, winning the ball back earlier, we were susceptible to errors when playing out from the back, the keeper now often punts it to halfway to avoid high pressing teams leading to occasional losses of possession but less errors leading to goals ? MP is imho our greatest asset we need cover for Rice, Another physical CF but with pace, arguably a left back who can defend and attack although Arthur is improving, a box to box midfielder with pace and physicality and on present form we might also need a more pacey central defender to play alongside Diop. I hope we can fill at least one of those positions in January although MP historically doesn’t buy anyone mid-season. So let’s get MP tied up for another 3 years to continue building and improving us COYI!!!

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