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West Ham defender is loving it back in a winning team

PUBLISHED: 14:00 18 December 2017

West Ham United's James Collins (left) and Stoke City's Erik Pieters (right) battle for the ball during the Premier League match at the bet365 Stadium, Stoke.

West Ham United's James Collins (left) and Stoke City's Erik Pieters (right) battle for the ball during the Premier League match at the bet365 Stadium, Stoke.

PA Wire/PA Images

Hammers centre half James Collins returned on Saturday at Stoke to help the team to an emphatic 3-0 win

West Ham United goalkeeper Adrian (left) with James Collins West Ham United goalkeeper Adrian (left) with James Collins

West Ham defender James Collins says it has been back to basics that has been the key to the recent Hammers revival.

New boss David Moyes has come in and got the team defending properly again, but the Wales international says that the players had taken things into their own hands.

“I think we had to look at ourselves first and foremost,” said the 34-year-old who returned to the starting line-up for the first time since mid-September.

“The first 10 games were diabolical, you look at the goals we let in and if my son’s under-10s team did that, you would be angry with them.

West Ham United's James Collins West Ham United's James Collins

“We knew we had to change and get back to the basics, defending well and if we do that we know the lads would score at the other end.

“We have done a lot of work on the training pitch. The gaffer has come in and just got us doing the basics again and it has worked.”

It certainly did at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday and with Winston Reid missing through suspension, Collins stepped seamlessly into the team.

“Adrian and the boys in defence have been terrific when I haven’t been playing and now I have come in and got another clean sheet,” said the Welshman.

West Ham United's James Collins passes his shirt to a fan in the stands West Ham United's James Collins passes his shirt to a fan in the stands

“That should be our basis for every game, get clean sheet and with the players we have got up front, we are always capable of scoring goals.”

It has been a frustrating time for Collins. On the sidelines for three months, it looked like he was set to return last month.”

“I got the ankle injury up at West Brom and came back and had a niggle in my hamstring which I couldn’t seem to shake off,” he said.

“But I have been training properly for a week and a half solidly, so I was ready to go and thoroughly enjoyed it.”

He certainly played his part in the win and was delighted with the way things went.

“It was great. Obviously it was great to be back in the team and to get the three points was even better.

“Winning 3-0 was great and when you look at the game, no disrespect to Stoke, it could have been a few more.”

It could. Collins is something of a cult hero to West Ham fans and he marched bare-chested to the crowd after the game to salute them.

It was great to see him back and he loved every minute of being back.

“I was a bit sore by the end, but that is the stuff I miss on a Saturday night. Sitting on the sofa with the aches and pains is what it is all about and I will enjoy that.”

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