Kevin Nolan sat down for this week's Big Interview following a magnificent 3-1 Barclays Premier League win over Chelsea.
The captain said results like the victory over the Blues at the Boleyn Ground should not come as unexpected, such is the ability and spirit within the West Ham United squad.
Nolan also discussed the outstanding performances given by Jussi Jaaskelainen and Carlton Cole, his hope that Andy Carroll will be fit again soon and the visit of Liverpool to east London this coming Sunday.
Kevin, that second half display against Chelsea was some performance. The team played fantastic, didn't they?
KN: "The gaffer made a few changes that worked out really well for us. In the first half we did not really get going and we didn't do as well as we should have. The game plan was to get the ball up to Coley and get round them but it did not work. The gaffer made the changes and thankfully we responded well, the two boys that came on, Matty Taylor and Mo Diame, really gave us some fresh legs. Tonks (James Tomkins) and Gaz (Gary O'Neil) also did well so it is good we have the rotation. We have a lot of lads out at the moment like Yossi and Vaz Te so it is nice coming off such a good performance."
We narrowly lost out to Manchester United last Wednesday but we played really well, so perhaps the result against Chelsea was not a massive surprise?
KN: "No of course not, we looked a bit sluggish in the game before that at Tottenham and I think the goal seconds before half-time killed us to be honest. Against Manchester United you lose a goal after 30 seconds and you think 'what is going to happen here/' but we responded well. We worked hard and that is what you have to do at Old Trafford, I think that is the first time I have been there and walked off thinking I was disappointed to not get something from the game. The performance was there, however, and we knew we could carry it on at home against Chelsea because we have been performed well in every game at the Boleyn Ground. The second half performance was fantastic."
Carlton Cole has not featured as much as he would have liked and Mo Diame was on the bench, but they both came on and performed really well. Does that show the great attitude and strength within the squad?
KN: "Yes, of course. We have a great unity within the squad. A lot of new players have come into the squad and that is what we have to try and build, not just for eleven who will be playing but everyone in the squad. As you say Coley has come in and played really well and shown a great attitude. He has had to wait for his chance but he is very much part of what goes on day-to-day at the club. We are all together as a unit and as a team. We have a great squad here with a great camaraderie and we all want to do well and work hard for each other. On Saturday we proved that and I am delighted for Coley and for the other lads who stepped in and played well. It was a great result and a result we needed, now we are looking forward to another home game next week against Liverpool."
Would you agree that you have more than one leader on the pitch. When you pegged Chelsea back, their heads dropped but that did not happen to you?
KN: "When you see that it definitely buoys you and it encourages you to take the game to them. In the first half I thought they played really well and in the end it was just about getting in at half time 1-0 down and making sure they only had a one goal lead. Jussi Jaaskelainen has pulled off some fantastic saves and they have got those magic players who can create something from nothing. We knew it was important to stay in the game and the gaffer made some changes at half time that really helped us. Like I said you have to praise Jussi because he made some great saves and also Joey O'Brien because he made two fantastic blocks from Juan Mata. We knew it was going to be tough but we are a team full confidence, we believe we belong here and we believe that at the Boleyn Ground we can beat anyone which we proved on Saturday."
You mentioned that you are a tight unit. Is that something that is very important, especially at this level?
KN: "It is something we have worked very hard on since I have been at the club. We have made sure we have a very tight knit bunch of lads because it is massively important when you go out there that the lads are going to give you their all. When things are not going right that is when you want to look at your mate and think is he giving me everything? I know that from my point of view they are, we are lucky to have players of such quality because I do think they will step up and go through a brick wall for each other. I thought we played some great stuff against Chelsea and mixed the play up really well, I am also delighted because it gives us 22 points with another home game up next. It is a tough one in a tough run but we showed on Saturday that we can achieve great results with a terrific work-rate."
Andy Carroll is now out through injury. Is the togetherness just as important when you are out and do you need to get round him and keep his spirits up now?
KN: "He is a big boy and he can look after himself but he will be very much part of everything that happens. He will be in and around the lads and hopefully he will have a speedy recovery but this is now the time for Coley and Modibo to step up and take their chance. I thought the big man was fantastic against his former club and I will be looking for more of the same against Liverpool next week."