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Cottee Column: Villa win was unexpected

14:48 11 February 2014

Archant

Hammers legend TC writes for you each week

Saturday’s victory at Aston Villa was a fantastic one for the Hammers, but for me it was a little unexpected as we do not have a great record at Villa Park in the recent past.

By all accounts we played really well in difficult conditions and Villa hardly got a shot in, while Kevin Nolan popped up with two more goals.

I think Kev would be the first to admit that he has not been at his best this season and has let his team down with his two sendings off, but I have always said that he is an excellent captain and he just needed a bit of confidence to get back on the scoresheet.

He managed it last week with Andy Carroll and that must have given him the confidence to do it again at Villa.

Confidence is a huge thing in the game. I always think that playing football is 30 per cent about ability and 70 per cent about confidence, it certainly was in my game.

If you have belief in yourself then that can make you a world beater.

It was good to see new boy Marco Borriello come on in the second half for his debut and I think he provides something different for the team.

He is not like Carlton Cole or Andy Carroll, but that is not a bad thing for me. It gives West Ham a plan B when things are not going right and that is something they have been lacking this season – sometimes they haven’t even had a plan A!

West Ham are now out of the bottom three, but the fight is by no means over. There is no point winning at Villa and then losing your next game and it is still any three from 10 teams to go down.

Carroll and Flores revisited

There has been an awful lot said about the Andy Carroll red card and the aftermath, but whatever you think about the West Ham arbitration hearing, perhaps the good thing about it is that it highlighted the fact that the whole disciplinary system is a really poor one.

I am sick of players diving to try and get a player sent off, or diving to try and get a penalty and the authorities not doing anything about it.

I do not blame the players for doing it, although I think Flores’ actions were pathetic, but what I do blame is the authorities. It is about time they made some rules that people agree with and that actually make sense, though I am not holding my breath on that, I have been saying it for years and years.

West Ham have shown they can do it without Carroll, let’s hope they can do it again.

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