West Ham United captain Kevin Nolan led from the front in Saturday's Barclays Premier League victory over Fulham - on and off the pitch.
Nolan fired the Hammers in front after just 53 seconds, setting them on their way to a valuable 3-0 home win. Afterwards, the skipper spoke at length to the national and international media.
The skipper talked about the fantastic win, bouncing back after the defeat at Swansea City, the arrival of friend Andy Carroll and an encouraging start to the 2012/13 campaign.
Kevin, a second Barclays Premier League home match, a second home win and another goal - not a bad day for you?
KN - "Yes, it was a great win for us. I am absolutely delighted with how we won it as well. For me to score again was great, the header on from Andy (Carroll) and then Vaz geared me up and it was great to see it hit the back of the net. We were very pleased to start off in such a way early on. It settles the nerves and you have your game plan. So when it comes together like that so early on, you can put it all into action. We were buzzing from the off. I thought we were great from the first minute to the last - except we may have got a bit sloppy near the end and have Jussi (Jaaskelainen) to thank for the good saves he made at that time to ensure we kept a clean sheet - although we did that to keep Jussi on his toes! After the disappointment of losing away at Swansea we were determined to bounce back straight away, which we have done with the Capital One Cup game midweek against Crewe and now in the league, so we're delighted at that."
There seemed a sense of extra excitement around the Boleyn Ground for Saturday's match and much of that was to do with the arrival of Andy (Carroll) and other new faces. Was that felt in the dressing room as well?
KN - "You know, a lot went on before the Fulham game, with the transfer deadline - not only Andy coming in on the Thursday but getting Yossi Benayoun really late on Friday. Those signings gave all the lads a boost and I think you could see that in our play. The way we started and went on to win was fantastic. When we got the early goal, then the second and third, it was all about making sure Fulham didn't get a sniff to get back into the game and we did that. Our work off the ball was good, as was our ball retention - overall it was a fantastic afternoon for us. There is a sense of excitement. Everyone at the club is delighted that we have added top-quality players to what is already a very strong squad. It is fantastic and hats off to the Gaffer and the Joint-Chairmen who have worked hard in the transfer window. Praise must also go to lads like Matt (Jarvis) and the boys brought in earlier in pre-season, including Mo Diame, Alou Diarra, Modibo Maiga and then Ginge (James Collins). We are all delighted and hopefully we can repay what the Gaffer and the owners have done by winning games and putting in top performances."
It seemed a long time coming, but West Ham finally have their man in Andy Carroll. As you know him well off the pitch, how pleased are you to see him in a Hammers shirt?
KN - "Obviously I know Andy well. We get on really well on and off the pitch so when I knew he was coming down on Thursday night I was excited and really chuffed about it. We have been lucky to get him, I think everyone knows that and from the performance he put in on Saturday you can see he will be great for us. I am delighted for him because he deserves to be playing every week.
How much was Andy looking forward to making his West Ham debut in front of the home fans?
KN: "He was very excited. I told him before the game that he had nothing to prove to anyone. We all know his capabilities and I am glad he showed what a top striker he is in this league. Hopefully he can carry on performing and put the ball in the back of the net for us this season."
A lot has been said about which style of play is suited to Andy but, with the qualities he has, can he can fit into any team?
KN: "Absolutely. I don't know why people go on about our style of play or that he supposedly suits us. The fact of the matter is simple, he is a top striker and can score goals. Andy works his socks off and makes things happen. If you put the ball in the box for him he will most probably get on the end of it and put it in the back of the net. As a team I think the performance against Fulham speaks for itself. We would be more than happy if we can play like that every week and win 3-0!"
Three league games in, how are things looking in your opinion and are you pleased with the squad's strength in depth?
KN: "You know I was confident when we came back for pre-season for the campaign ahead. I thought we would strengthen and, like everyone else at the club, I am delighted with who we have brought in. We hope that Andy's injury is not too serious, but when he came off Carlton (Cole) came on and did his bit which delighted me. It bodes well for us going into a long season that we have quality in numbers, if we can all keep fit then we will do well. The other highlight was that we also had youngsters like Rob Hall coming on and we have another young lad in Dan Potts in the squad so we are confident going into the next few games. We have the international break now and we hope that all the lads do well for their respective countries and then return to us fit and well. If that happens we will be standing in good stead to face Norwich in our next game. I think I mentioned the other week that when we win we won't get too carried away. We will take the confidence it brings into the next game and, equally, when we lose we will look to bounce back as we showed today. We can only look to work hard and do the best we can and we will certainly be doing that."