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This team is rolling over at first sign of a battle

We are delighted to welcome new blogger James Hart to CandH this morning who is committing his thoughts in print for the first time. Well done mate.

James tries to find an answer as to why we regularly – as shown against Spurs and Palace – can produce such a mix of the excellent and the downright unacceptable!

By James Hart

6MarkNobleHow does this happen – the same group off 11 players operating in such contrasting ways.

In a rare tweet Dean Ashton commented after the Spurs game: @WHUFC Just amazing how quickly players regain confidence & intensity from a tap in goal!” (@Dean36ashton10).

He has a brilliant point; why did we need that moment to suddenly come alive? And how could we play so well following that moment, when before we had barely had a shot on goal?

Of course it doesn’t answer questions posed from the Palace draw which saw a wonder goal followed by a desperation to hang on to what we had -never a great idea …EVER!

dean_ashton118getty_980411cIn my view it comes down to the mental state of our squad. Despite the fact we have signed some great players this season, coupled with an already impressive squad, there is not the intensity to push for victory all the time.

A lot of fingers have been pointed at Slaven Bilic. There have been countless articles about him having ‘lost the dressing room’ and his poor tactical set-ups damaging our chances in different games.

Whilst I agree  there have been tactical shortcomings and that Bilic must get the players far more fired up than , we are talking about a squad of multi-millionaire, experienced, professionals who should know better than to roll over at the first sign of a fight.

Mark Noble was quoted in the Evening Standard on Wednesday, saying “Listen, even if we didn’t have a manager at all, the talent in this club should mean that we don’t lose 3-0 to Brighton. What shape we play, what tactics we employ, that’s almost immaterial.”

I couldn’t agree more with Mark on this occasion. Whilst we may have been tactically outfoxed in some aspects, the attitude of the vast majority of our side on that horrible night was simply appalling. Ability can only get you so far, the desire and hunger has to be present to get you across the line.

Leicester didn’t win the league solely because of their ability and tactics. That may have got them a long way, but it was their hunger and desire to fight for every second that they were on the pitch (along with a fair few lucky decisions), that got them across the line.

The most worrying thing about the performance against Brighton, was that the way we truly capitulated wasn’t the first time this season. The abysmal performances against Newcastle and Manchester United are evidence enough that this isn’t just a one off situation, let alone performances last season against Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool, Southampton and Watford.

Whilst there are some great teams in that list, the manner of the defeats was what made them so poor. Often after starting positively, conceding one goal meant the end of all hope and belief from any of the players, and an embarrassing display followed on every occasion.

On Wednesday, the response to going behind was once again poor, with Spurs taking full control of the game. The lacklustre attitude of our players left them strolling around,

Andy Carroll being the prime example. After flicking on the ball and losing position, Carroll’s response each time would be to look around waving his arms to anyone and everyone near him in an attempt to shift the blame, rather than fighting to get back into position and win the ball back. Carroll wasn’t alone in the first half, the desire from the majority of our players was non-existent and half time came at the perfect time to prevent further embarrassment.

In the second half, it all changed. The players pressed the ball incredibly well, fought for every 50/50 and left everything on the pitch. By the end of the game, Andre Ayew was completely exhausted and truly deserving of his brace. He typified the spirit that is needed for the rest of this season if we are to do well.

The fact that we needed to be humiliated in the first half in order to find that fighting spirit is concerning however. We have to fight from the first minute. We have to fight for the entire game as again demonstrated yesterday at Selhurst Park.

Without that, we are destined to disappoint. Slav has to take a lot of responsibility for not getting the players motivated enough, but the players still need to take it upon themselves to change their mentality.


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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

17 comments on “This team is rolling over at first sign of a battle

  1. Everything in the blog is self evident to many many west ham supporters , IMO the key word in it was change , we need change of manager and personnel to achieve that ! Even that might not work ! But it would be the most logical thing to do !! Its self evident for 20 + months now , for me change is needed asap , bilic has had more than enough time to put things right but to phrase a phrase he hasn’t learned from his mistakes ?? Neither have the board !! 😉

    • Perhaps you’d like to do a blog then Laz which isn’t perhaps quite so self evident 🙂

      • Its quite simple really if bilic stays we could get relegated simple as that…they said he had 2 games to save his job well we played OK for 20min v spuds that’s it ..the first half of that game is the worst I e seen and against palace well it was just awful again.. It really is quite simple in my opinion and a lot of other fans ..HE HAS TO GO..along with his hand ball coach …two games to save his job.. Was it enough Jesus no were near …ffs do some the about it before its to late ..

      • Nothing much to add to it basil 😉 ! Its just what you me and the rest of us think and have been saying for far to long now !!! Its a well thought out blog, and needs to be out there , so well said that man! But me ? A blogger, lol 😂, naa mate 😉 but I am seriously thinking of writing a book !!!

  2. Bilic has not got the brain or balls to tell certain players to move on. Noble is now a laughing stock for away fans . He gives the ball away dives in late to tackles while watching most of the game pass him by . Without question the worse player in the Premier league . Carroll has done nothing but whine and pass the the buck . What has Adrian done wrong ? nothing . Hart is not needed or wanted . Send him back and spend the wages on a good central midfield player . Ogbona and Fonte are as bad as each other while Rice sits it out and Oxford has been sent away . Give them a chance … They sure as hell can’t do worse .

    • Agree that’s the thing he has no ********for the big decisions hence playing people in wrong positions to keep them happy ..pathetic

    • The worst player in the premier league, you’re having a laugh! You’re clueless bubbles…

  3. The key word for me was ‘mental’ – they drive me mental!

    (Apologies to the PC brigade – although I don’t really give a toss about their opinion!)

  4. Yes agreed- obviously Bilic can’t control what the players do on the pitch minute to minute. But he is the one who (so we are told) had the final decision on who is at the club & in the team. He is the one who should have found out if players are not up for the fight & either not bought them or shipped them out asap. Players give away late goals/ penalties/ red cards & the pundits all start up with ‘Just stupid, what can the poor manager do’. Give me a break! At well managed clubs these things still happen occasionally, but not week after week. I have not got the stats at my fingers but I am sure our record for red cards/ late goals conceded/ & penalties is one of the worst inthe PL. If those stats do not change we are going down. Blame the players if you like, but you can’t change the whole squad. It isn’t just one or two players who are making these errors. Get in a decent manager- which will cost money of course- & see how those stats change. Or we could just carry on our slide into the Championship & start all over again. Sorry, but I think you are barking up the wrong tree.

    • I’d think that all that is a lack of Professionalism, they play in an uncontrolled manner without a thought of what is required in the game – a lack of leadership, or just naivety and brainlessness!

  5. Bilic won’t get us relegated, it will be the chairmen if they leave this decision much longer. To me the next game has become the final decision point where if they have any guts they will make the decision. The only thing in there defence I would say is that there are not too many managers presently available. I do not rate Mancini but anyone of these will bring structure, stability and consistency, Benitez, Koeman, and Ancellotti.

  6. The youth players will not get a chance at West Ham, same old formation and the players have lost all hope!!….with Bilic the Dildo brother’s and Co. WE ARE GOING DOWN….. I’ve said before on these sites, look at club’s like Leeds, Nottingham Forest both European cup winners both ruined by crap owners, and we don’t even have our own Ground!…..we will end up like Wimbledon, having to start all over…..RIP THE HAMMERS!

  7. Agree with view here that we need to change the manager and quick. Not convinced we will be relegated however, not because we are any good as a team (we have the individuals who should be a better team), but because there are poorer sides than us out there. For me, Swansea, Bournemouth, Palace, Huddersfield and even Everton are at least as bad. But we should be aiming far higher of course and the fact we are struggling is a poor reflection on the manager and the individual mistakes so called top class players keep making.

  8. We had another of Bilic’ s tactical lockups on Saturday. He started with 3 at the back and we went 2-0 up. After halftime he goes to 4 and we did not look the same team. Yeah It gonna was a prat (and not for the first time) as was Antonio at the end. But the constant indiscipline on the pitch is down to Bilic and he seems unable to sort it.

    • I know how can u go 2 up with a formation and then changes it for second half …I mean Jesus wrf is that about ..beggars belief. 😱😱😱

  9. I know we’re not supposed to be negative or hurt Bilic’s feelings blah blah blah but we took 2 points from the last three games! We should have had at least seven!

    Bilic is just an arrogant moron. He had a lucky result on Wednesday, but all the West Ham luvvies fell over themselves to praise him and Bilic obviously thought he was some kind of genius and reverted to Antonio at wb. How can he be so deluded?! You should sling your hook Bilic and take all these effeminate fans who are afraid to call it as it is with you!

  10. Q : We have a good squad and should be doing a lot better . Why aren’t we ?.
    A : Slaven Bilic .

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