West Ham skipper: There’s no pressure on us, we are already written off
West Ham captain Kevin Nolan says the simple fact that they have to win their last three games to have a chance of automatic promotion, means the pressure is off them and on Southampton
West Ham skipper Kevin Nolan believes the pressure is off the team and that is why they were able to demolish Brighton in a six-goal frenzy at Upton Park on Saturday.
The 29-year-old midfielder, notched his 12th goal of the campaign in the thumping win and put the performance down to the fact that nobody considered they had a chance of going up automatically.
“There is no pressure on us because everybody has written us off,” said Nolan, who is currently playing his best football in claret and blue. “Although we have pulled six goals back on Southampton, we are still three points behind them.
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“We are just hoping that they slip-up, but it is equally important that we keep getting the wins.”
West Ham hop to follow-up Saturday’s win by beating Bristol City at Ashton Gate tonight and Nolan believes that the team are playing with a certain freedom that they have not displayed for much of this season.
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“To be honest I think that we played with an air of confidence against Brighton because of the fact that we knew that we just had to win the game,” he said.
“I know it has been the case all season long, don’t get me wrong, but we were six points behind with four games to go.
“Southampton must have thought they had it, with the lead they had and the goal difference, but that result puts a bit of doubt in Southampton’s minds and we will see what they have got in the locker now.
“Good luck to them because if they do go up automatically then they deserve to as they have been the best team, but we need to make sure that we do our job and that is to make sure that we win all our games for the rest of the season.
“If we do that and still don’t make it, then it means that we go into the play-offs in a rich vein of form.”
Nolan could have had at least a hat-trick on Saturday against Brighton, but he still took his tally to a dozen for the campaign, though Ricardo Vaz Te’s triple means he is just two goals behind the club’s leading scorer.
Nolan, though, is just happy to play a part.
“I am delighted with my 12 goals and I want to add to them in the coming games,” said the former Bolton and Newcastle player. “I am sure that Vaz wants to add to his 10, but at the end of the day, as long as we keep winning games that is the main thing for me.
“Hopefully from now until the end of the season I might stay on top, but who knows? If Vaz gets 14 or 15 goals then that means that we are winning games and I am happy with that.”
Every West Ham fans would be ecstatic with that, and the Hammers are certainly in scoring form – but whether it will be enough remains to be seen.