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2013-04-08T06:00:00 Updated 2015-02-19T00:58:29

Ginge revels in Reds result

James Collins produced arguably his best performance in a West Ham United shirt to inspire the Hammers to a goalless Barclays Premier League draw at Liverpool.

'Ginge' cut an imperious figure at Anfield, making numerous important interceptions and clearances and stifling the the considerable threat of Reds striker Luis Suarez.

Time and again the Uruguayan ran at Collins, but the Welsh giant stood firm. Whenever a cross came into the penalty area, he and partner James Tomkins headed or hacked it clear. In short, it was an imperious display from the No19.

Speaking to West Ham TV, the defender was literally too tired to smile, but was naturally delighted with his own and the team's resilient performance at a ground where the Hammers have not won since September 1963.


"It was great and it's always nice to play well at places like Anfield," he confirmed. "The whole team was spot-on in terms of our defensive performance and, going the other way, we've had chances so it's a massive point, especially with West Ham's performance at Anfield.

"Suarez nutmegged me twice, to be fair, but I thought about how I was going to defend against him before the game. If you drop off he's turning and running at you, so I thought if I could get as tight as possible and try to tackle him as high up the pitch as possible, even if I fouled him there it is better than him running into the box. That was the gameplan really and luckily it worked.

"I was wary of the fact he goes over as well and that's why you have to stay on your feet as much as possible and to win the ball you've got to just go for it sometimes. It was one of those games when it's come off for me."

After a difficult few months on the road, West Ham look a far more formidable team away from home these days. A 1-0 win at Stoke City in March was followed by a determined display at Chelsea and another clean sheet at Liverpool.

"We do look more confident away from home," Collins confirmed. "Our away record hasn't been great but we have had some good clean sheets away from home [at Norwich City, Newcastle United, West Bromwich Albion, Stoke and Liverpool] and got some good wins.

"The Gaffer [Sam Allardyce] said before the game, if we can come here and play and defend how we did at Stoke, we'd get a result and he has got his tactics spot-on again as usual so all credit to him."

With Winston Reid sidelined with a leg muscle injury suffered in training, Tomkins made his first start in two months, but the No5 looked like he had never been away.

"Tonks was superb," Collins confirmed. "He has been so unlucky this year, especially after doing so well last year and even in the games he has played he has been spot-on and played well. He has probably been unfortunate not to play more.

"His attitude has been great and in any game he comes into he is spot-on, so fair play to him because he was great at Liverpool."

Collins has recently become a father for the second time and has been involved in some big games for club and country in recent weeks. For those many reasons, he is enjoying his life and his football at present.

"I am enjoying it and I'm fit too. Since I came back the second time I've put the stupid little injuries I used to get behind me, touch wood, and I'm playing in a great team with great team spirit and a great bunch of lads.

"I enjoy going into training for the banter with the lads so I want to do well for the boys because we're that close."

For a team that came up through the npower Championship Play-Offs last season that has been in mid-table in the Barclays Premier League all this term, some might say the Hammers are not getting the recognition they deserve. However, that is a situation Collins is more than happy about.

"Sometimes it's nice to slip under the rader and not have people talking about you too much. We've done great and we've set our sights on coming tenth and we don't to slip-up now, especially with the start we had.

"We started off great and got loads of points and then had a dodgy middle of the season and now we're playing well again. We just want to get as many points as we can. We were looking at tenth and that's still a possibility."

After the challenge of shackling the diminutive Suarez at Anfield, Collins will tackle the more physical threat of Rickie Lambert and Jay Rodriguez at Southampton on Saturday - one he is relishing.

"I watched them on Saturday [winning 2-0 at Reading] and their front-two were superb. I'll be resting my legs up for the week and I'll be ready to go for three points on Saturday.

"It's going to be a tough game. They beat us down there in the Championship last season so there's going to be a score to settle, but we're playing well are full of confidence so there is no reason we can't go there and get three points."

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