West Ham winger: I haven’t even thought about losing play-off final’
West Ham star Matt Taylor will not contemplate defeat when it comes to Saturday’s clash with Blackpool at Wembley Stadium
Last season, West Ham winger Matt Taylor suffered the humiliation of defeat at Wembley when his Bolton Wanderers side were thrashed 5-0 by Stoke City in the FA Cup semi-finals.
This time round, he is not even contemplating the prospect of losing as he prepares for the Hammers’ play-off final showdown with Blackpool.
“I played there last season, but obviously it wasn’t a great experience,” admitted the 30-year-old wide man.
“I have been there though, so hopefully I will know what to expect and it will be a better experience this time round.”
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It would be hard to be worse. Taylor came on as a second-half substitute at Wembley when Bolton were already trailing 3-0 to the rampant Potters and things did not get much better when he was on as the team were eventually thumped by five.
However, Taylor is only thinking about the positives going into Saturday’s game.
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“The remit at the beginning of the season was to get ourselves promoted,” he said.
“I think as a club and from the manager especially down to the players we knew what we wanted to achieve and we have now got 90 minutes to do that.
“I haven’t thought about losing because that would be a pretty defeatist attitude. I haven’t really thought about the game too much yet, I am not putting that scenario into my head just yet.”
West Ham are overwhelming favourites on Saturday, especially as they have thumped Blackpool twice already this season, but not in the eyes of Taylor.
“You are the only guys that make us favourites, not us,” he insisted.
“There is no more pressure on us than on Blackpool to get promoted and get back into the Premier League.
“We are both in the same position in terms of both were relegated last season and would obviously like to bounce back at the first opportunity.
“The previous results don’t count for anything. For me it is 90 minutes now and that is all that is important.
“The results count for nothing when the whistle goes at 3pm on Saturday.”
If West Ham are to win the game, then they will look to Taylor’s power at set-pieces as one of their most potent weapons.
The winger has had most assists for the Hammers this season and he knows just how important set-plays are in potentially tight matches.
“It is something that I have been fortunate to be blessed with, but you can put the ball in an area, but if you haven’t got the people attacking it and sticking their head in where it is going to hurt, then it counts for nothing,” said Taylor.
“The manager is very pro set-pieces in terms of his statistics, and especially at the highest level of the game.
“You look and see how many games are decided by set-pieces and it is such a vital and important part of modern-day football.
“I think you will see in the past 10 games statistically we have scored more goals from set-pieces than we have in the previous part of the season, and that has coincided with our results and good form,” he added.
Taylor has been playing at left back in recent games, but may well be moved into midfield on Saturday if Jack Collison fails to make it.
Either way, the player believes the team has what it takes.
“Everybody is confident because winning football matches breeds confidence and that is what we have done,” said Taylor.
“The boys are in good sprits and we want to approach the game as we would any one because you can’t put too much emphasis on one game.
“We are just going to treat it as any other away game and hopefully that will put us in good stead as our away form this season has been pretty good.”