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“We can take a lot of positives from elements of the last two games”

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Yet another two game week filled with mixed emotions for the Irons. We started the Easter period with a superb dismantling of an admittedly poor Barnsley side on Friday.

The four goal margin was the least we deserved and the second and third goals in particular were a joy to behold. Many of the critics of Big Sam’s style will have been pleasantly surprised as ten neat passes were completed before Nicky Maynard slotted the ball into the right corner.

Birmingham followed on Monday in the sixth meeting between the sides in the last two years. Given the result you wouldn’t bet against the two meeting for a seventh time in the playoffs next month.

If was a catastrophic first half for the home side as a clinical Birmingham capitalised on three individual errors to take a 3-1 lead into the interval.

The second half was a different story. I don’t know what Big Sam said to the players at half time but it did the trick. Nolan switched to a more advanced role and we played a more direct style which ultimately yielded two goals – a superb left foot finish from Carlton Cole and an excellent penalty converted by Ricardo Vaz Te.

We can take a lot of positives from elements of the last two games. At times we have played with style and flair. We have shown grit and determination when things weren’t going our way. Big Sam has shown an awareness of tactics and knew when to switch them. Some West Ham fans may not like the so called ‘long ball’ approach but quite simply the best teams vary the way they play depending on the opposition. If it wasn’t for our more direct play creating pressure in and around the Birmingham penalty area, then I don’t think we would have come back to secure, what could yet prove to be, a vital point.

We’re playing well and yet automatic promotion still isn’t something we have control over, largely due to the disappointing home form over the last couple of months. We’re now in a position where our own results have to go our way and also those of our competitors. As I mentioned last week however, if we’re going to be competing in the playoffs then we need to go into them on form. A couple of offensive errors aside I believe we look like a team that is hitting form. It’s only a shame that we’ve let our destiny slip out of our own hands. It’s going to be a Big few weeks for West Ham, let’s hope we’re all celebrating by the end of it.

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