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West Ham Cottee: Victory should take all this unnecessary stick off Slav

PUBLISHED: 12:59 12 April 2017

West Ham legend Tony Cottee

West Ham legend Tony Cottee

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Our West Ham columnist looks back on a vital win for the Hammers

STRATFORD, ENGLAND - APRIL 08: West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic  during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Swansea City at London Stadium STRATFORD, ENGLAND - APRIL 08: West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Swansea City at London Stadium

We are not mathematically safe just yet, but Saturday’s win was an absolutely massive one and I am delighted for the players and for the manager who has taken so much unnecessary stick.

By all accounts it was a scrappy game and in matches like that both teams are going to be nervous, perhaps Swansea even more than the Hammers.

But we stuck to the task, survived a couple of nervy moments at the end and I think we deservedly won.

Eight points clear of the drop zone and I think perhaps with another win or even just another draw, we can start looking forward to next season and planning what places we need to strengthen in.

STRATFORD, ENGLAND - APRIL 08: West Ham United's Cheikhou Kouyate scores his sides first goal  during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Swansea City at London Stadium STRATFORD, ENGLAND - APRIL 08: West Ham United's Cheikhou Kouyate scores his sides first goal during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Swansea City at London Stadium

I think James Collins was right when he said that it is the players and not the manager who should be taking the stick.

Slaven has been criticised and I have even seen possible replacements mentioned in the newspapers, but for me he has done a decent job and doesn’t deserve the criticism. Once the players cross the white line, there is not too much the manager can do, it is down to them and too often this season they haven’t done it.

It may have been a scrappy old match, but it was a good goal to win it from Cheikhou Kouyate. He has been an important part of this team and I think others in the squad should emulate him.

It was good that we managed a clean sheet on Saturday. That is what we have been missing over the last few weeks. We have let in lots of sloppy goals and that is something that we must address this summer.

Sunderland's Jermain Defoe after the Premier League match at the King Power Stadium, Leicester. Sunderland's Jermain Defoe after the Premier League match at the King Power Stadium, Leicester.

It needs to be sorted otherwise we are putting ourselves under too much pressure.

Looking at the table now, I think Middlesbrough and Sunderland are both gone, which means a toss up between Hull City and Swansea City for the final relegation place.

I know that Hull have improved a lot lately, but for me, Swansea have the better squad and I think the Tigers are likely to go down.

It is Sunderland on Saturday and it will be 
interesting to see what Jermain Defoe does.

He is not in the greatest of goalscoring form, though nobody at Sunderland is, but he will be trying his best to show West Ham that they should sign him in the summer.

I will go for a consolation for Defoe, but I fancy West Ham to go up there without any pressure and win the match 2-1. COYI!!

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