Wednesday, October 26, 2005
NRC: We deserved it
Nigel Reo-Coker has claimed that West Ham's second goal against Middlesbrough should not have stood - but neither should have Boro's consolation goal.
"The 'goal' that was awarded by the linesman was an unfortunate incident, no doubt about that," he told the Icons website (www.icons.com). "I saw it with my own eyes on the pitch and knew it hadn't crossed the line, and you could see from the reaction of all the West Ham players that we sensed it was probably not a goal. No one appealed for it.
"Luckily for us the linesman saw something the rest of us didn't and we accepted the goal. I don't feel guilty about it for two reasons though. Firstly because we thoroughly deserved the win, but also because Middlesbrough scored from a corner kick that should never have been awarded because the ball came off of one of their own players! Over the course of the 90 minutes I think we got just as much bad luck as Boro from the officials."
The hard-working midfielder felt that West Ham won the match on merit despite the controversy. "It's such a shame that our disputed second goal against Middlesbrough on Sunday overshadowed a very good performance by West Ham. No matter what anyone else says, we fully deserved to earn all three points from the match. We played well and I don't even think Boro could argue that we were the better side on the day."
The result puts the Hammers in ninth position in the Premiership table, and Reo-Coker is pleased with that. "The three points we deservedly picked up were really handy because the distance between ourselves and the teams at the bottom of the league has widened. Survival is all that matters for us this season, so the bigger the gap the better. It's now down to all of us to maintain our form and build on it."
Will West Ham play a weakened squad against Bolton in the Carling Cup match? "As far as I know the gaffer is taking a full strength side. We are going there to try and win. Having said that, I have to say the Carling Cup is just a bonus for us this season. Not many Premiership teams are taking the competition too seriously and we are probably one of them. We'd like to win it, but not at the expense of our place in the Premiership.
"This season is all about survival, even though we've had a decent start. Staying in the Premiership is all that we want to do. If we can do that, and win a trophy it will fantastic. What we don't want to do is win the Carling Cup and get relegated. Like I said before we are viewing the competition as a bonus."
Reo-Coker also commented on the rumours about Arsenal's interest in him. "I want to reassure West Ham fans that the newspaper story linking me with Arsenal this weekend was only paper talk as far as I am concerned. It's nice to be associated with a club of their stature but I don't think there is any substance in the story. Whatever I do, I won't get carried away with anything written about me or the team this season. It's what we do on the pitch that matters."