McDonald: West Ham still have work to do

22:41 03 May 2012

Neil McDonald, West Ham United assistant manager

Neil McDonald, West Ham United assistant manager

EMPICS Sport

Hammers assistant boss impressed with side’s professionalism

West Ham assistant boss Neil McDonald insists that the Hammers still have plenty of work to do despite their 2-0 play-off semi-final first-leg win in Cardiff tonight.

The east Londoners put one foot firmly in the play-off final thanks to a Jack Collison brace, and McDonald was pleased with the professionalism of West Ham’s performance – something that the Hammers must keep if they are to book a place at Wembley.

“Everyone knew their job, and everyone did their job tonight,” said McDonald.

“It is an all-round team performance that we are very pleased with.

“It was a professional job tonight, and we have a professional job to do on Monday.”

Cardiff started the game the stronger side, but West Ham managed to stay firm, before Collison headed the visitors in front against the run of play.

The Wales international then doubled his tally with a deflected volley before half time, and McDonald was impressed with the midfielder’s contribution.

“Collison took his goals very well, he is very comfortable on the ball and that’s another two on his tally for the season,” said McDonald.

“We are starting to see the best of Collison. He has played a lot of games this season, even though he is still having to man-manage his injury, but he is getting through it very well and he is a vital player for us.”

The Hammers now turn their attention to Monday’s second leg at Upton Park, and the east Londoners’ assistant boss admits that his team’s 2-0 lead is a dangerous one.

“Two-nil is always a dangerous lead, but you would prefer to be two-nil in front, rather than two-nil behind,” he said.

“We could have done better, we could have scored another couple of goals, but let’s not be greedy, we’ve come out with a gameplan not to concede and we’ve scored a couple of goals so we are happy, but there is still a long way to go.”

West Ham had suffered with a bad run of form at the Boleyn Ground not too long ago, drawing too many games which saw them miss out on automatic promotion.

However, McDonald is confident that the team have put that firmly in their past and are back to winning ways.

“We are very confident ahead of Monday,” he said.

“The performance and the goals against Brighton and Hull have got that monkey off our backs of too many draws at home.

“We have scored eight goals at home in the past two games and we know that the crowd will be right behind us.

“We have got our head around trying to win through to the final and we have 90 minutes to do that.

“There is still a game to go and we need to be on our guard to kill the game off.”

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