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West Ham defender left shellshocked by pitch invasion

PUBLISHED: 13:14 12 March 2018 | UPDATED: 13:14 12 March 2018

A Pitch invader is confronted by security during the Premier League match at the London Stadium.

A Pitch invader is confronted by security during the Premier League match at the London Stadium.

PA Wire/PA Images

Collins: I don’t think I ever expected to be 1-0 down at home and look across and see my good friend, the captain of the club, being confronted by a fan.

Pitch invaders run onto the pitch during the Premier League match at the London Stadium. Pitch invaders run onto the pitch during the Premier League match at the London Stadium.

James Collins came out to the meet the media with a look of defiance on his face. He was not going to let anyone stop him saying his piece and he had frank views on an ugly day at the London Stadium.

“The situation we are in, the way we have been playing has not been anywhere near good enough,” he began. “But I don’t think I ever expected to be 1-0 down at home and look across and see my good friend, the captain of the club, being confronted by a fan.

“What has gone on has taken our mind off the game and they have gone and scored again, which has effectively killed the game.

“He loves this club and has been here since he was a kid, so having to deal with that in a home game is hard to comprehend.

A Pitch invader is confronted by security during the Premier League match at the London Stadium. A Pitch invader is confronted by security during the Premier League match at the London Stadium.

“It is not an excuse, but it is something that I haven’t seen at West Ham before and I have been here a long time.

“I am not having a go, I feel the fans frustration. I am a West Ham fan myself and I am just as unhappy.

“It has not been anywhere near good enough, but it seemed this game had that edge. We were probably a bit scared playing, a bit nervous and as soon as the first goal has gone it, all hell has broke loose.”

As well as the captain’s actions, Collins also escorted another pitch invader off the pitch as well as confronting another fan who had run on with the corner flag.

A pitch invader on the ground during the Premier League match at the London Stadium. A pitch invader on the ground during the Premier League match at the London Stadium.

They were ugly scenes and Collins looked visibly frustrated by the whole thing and felt for his friend and skipper.

“’Nobes’ is devastated about it,” said Collins. “You never want to take matters into your own hands, but the fans seemed to be on the pitch for an eternity and for him to have to resort to that is wrong and it certainly affected us.

“My father has just phoned me and said it is all on the radio about what has gone on. It is not great and it all comes from us on the pitch, but what is going on off the pitch is affecting is which is disappointing,” he added.

“We are professional footballers, we should be able to perform and handle that, but we didn’t.”

West Ham have jetted off to Florida for a five-day training camp which may help clear the air, but Collins is expecting more flak.

“I think going away is probably a good thing, though I guess the fans and the press won’t think it is,” admitted the Welsh centre back.

“It is important to get away, spend some time together and get some training and chat about what is going on.

“We have been conceding far too many goals at the minute, it’s been awful and not just from the back three, but from the whole team, so we certainly have time to work on it.”

Things are certainly at a low ebb at the moment, but Collins insisted that the morale of the team is still holding up.

“It’s all right,” he said. “After a defeat like that, nobody is going to be upbeat, but there are still games that we can win.

“We are not in the bottom three, but we certainly have to play better as a team, work harder and we will try and do that.”

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