West Ham’s Cole wants to repay fans for club’s ‘dire’ displays

Hammers striker Carlton Cole scored his first goal of the season in the 4-0 drubbing of Watford on Tuesday night, and he revealed he is on a mission to put right last season’s disasters.

Carlton Cole is on a mission. He wants to cheer up the fans after the nightmare of relegation from the Premier League last season.

And the England striker began that healing process on Tuesday night at Watford when he scored on his first start of the season to help the Hammers to a whopping 4-0 victory.

“The fans are very important in the place where we are at the moment,” said Cole, who has been West Ham’s top scorer for the past two seasons.

“They are always supportive and we need their support, especially after the dire performances we had last year. We’re in this position for a reason – we just weren’t good enough.”

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Manager Sam Allardyce had chosen Freddie Piquionne for the opening two games of the season as Cole was not match fit, but the boss was happy with the big man’s contribution at Vicarage Road.

“I was very pleased,” said Allardyce. “I think I got a performance in possession and I got good movement from Carlton.

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“A lot of our midfield play could then go forward off him, then come back and go into wide areas and then start creating and sliding little balls down the sides.”

Cole turned down a move back to the Premier League with Stoke City during the summer, and though his future remains uncertain until the transfer window closes, the player is just concentrating on his efforts for the Hammers.

He was certainly full of praise for his team-mates on Tuesday and for one in particular, which may surprise a few fans.

“It was a fantastic performance by my team-mates,” he said. “It was nice to have a tap-in to score and a few more of those this season wouldn’t go amiss for me.

“I have to big up Herita Ilunga – I thought he had a fantastic game. At that stage, for him to be up there in and around the box for a left back is amazing.

“He didn’t have to pull it back for me, but he did it nicely and I had the simple tap in.”

As well as the four goals, the defence also performed well on Tuesday, something Cole was quick to point out.

“Two clean sheets in a row,” he said. “I can’t remember the last time we managed to do that and it bodes well for our goalkeeper and our defence, the whole team really.

“The manager has wanted this since he came in and he wanted us to make a statement tonight and I think that is what we did.

“I think it shows that we are really serious about this league and we want to put in a good, steady performance like we did today.”

With John Carew now at the club, the competition for places is beginning to hot up, but Cole is still considered the number one striker.

“We just need to stay strong and the fans have to stay strong and keep the faith,” he said. “Then hopefully we will get out of this league at the first shot and repay the fans in the best way possible.”

Now that would be nice.

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