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2013-09-04T06:00:00 Updated 2015-02-19T00:04:49

The Big Interview - Kevin Nolan

Kevin Nolan has vowed that West Ham United will hit the ground running when they return to Barclays Premier League action after the international break.

The captain admitted both his own individual and the Hammers' collective performance had not been up to scratch in Saturday's 1-0 home defeat by Stoke City, saying the squad are determined to put things right at Southampton on Sunday 15 September.

The No4 also touched on the composition of the squad following the end of the transfer window, saying forwards Ricardo Vaz Te and Carlton Cole would be welcomed into the fold.


Kevin, we all suffered a disappointing day on Saturday but I understand the lads have been working hard this week at the training ground in response to the home defeat by Stoke?

KN: "We took it really hard because the performance wasn't there and we weren't good enough on the day. They got what they deserved and we got what we deserved because it was a very below-par performance and one we haven't seen for a long, long time - probably since I came to the Club.

"We just didn't seem to get going or create any chances. It just wasn't us. This week is about maintaining fitness and keeping free from injury while getting the fitness hit in. We're looking forward to what we hope will be a good week next week leading up to Southampton.

"We're looking forward to the next game because the only thing that can get it out of your system is getting out there and doing the business and that's what we intend to do."

That was our first home defeat since Gareth Bale's last-minute special for Tottenham Hotspur in February and only our second since December 2012, so perhaps the disappointment of losing to Stoke was compounded by the fact it happens so infrequently at home?

KN: "Of course, because we've made the Boleyn Ground like a fortress and we nearly got away with a draw on Saturday. We would have come in afterwards and known we hadn't performed, but at least we wouldn't have lost the game.

"Me with my sloppy pass and the debateable free-kick and then he has whipped one over the wall and into the corner. I've looked at it again and I don't know if I could get my head to it.

"Half the people are saying I should have kept my head up but that's easier said than done and, at the end of the day, even if I had I still think it would have gone over me. There will be another side saying it would have [hit me] if I had kept my head up, so I'll just have to take it on the chin whatever the Gaffer decides he wants to say to me and give me what-for!

"I'm more disappointed with my pass out beforehand because that was the most disappointing part. It was just one of those games and we've got to put it to bed and look forward because I don't think we'll have too many more of those this season."

You mentioned that we haven't had many bad performances since you arrived, but do you believe that is because the squad has such resilience? Whenever you have had a setback, you seem to bounce back, and presumably you'll do that again at Southampton?

KN: "It's a very tough place to go and we know it will be a tough game, but it's one that we're relishing. We know exactly what happened in the last game and we want to put things right.

"We have a few players away who we hope come back free of injury and we'll be ready and raring to go on the Sunday with a fit squad. We're looking forward to us hopefully getting back into our stride."

The transfer window has now closed, so now you can concentrate 100 per cent on your football rather than who will be in the dressing room when you arrive each morning!

KN: "Yes, because it can sometimes unsettle players. We've had quite a settled squad from the first week here. We brought Stewie [Downing] in a couple of weeks ago and brought in Andy [Carroll] nice and early as well as Razvan Rat and Adrian - they've all been here and embedded well.

"I didn't think there would be too much movement going outwards and that's what happened.

"Obviously we had Ricardo Vaz Te incident last week but hopefully now he can just knuckle down and fight for his place and really it's about us making sure he knows he is still wanted here. At the end of the day, we're a tight-knit group and we were surprised by it but that's football and that's life.

"Hopefully now we can put it all to bed and he can get back amongst the lads because we're all waiting with open arms. We're all looking to put it behind us and for him to show he wants to be a part of this fantastic football club, which I'm sure he does.

"Generally he just wants to play football and hopefully now he'll get the chance. It's up to him to prove everyone wrong. We've got a fairly settled squad and we might have another familiar face coming in, so we'll see how that turns out!"

One man who will certainly be welcomed with open arms is Carlton Cole, who underwent a medical on Tuesday. What would his return do for the dressing room and the squad?

KN: "Everyone loves Coley and I don't think there is a bad word to be said about him. I'm really pleased to see him and everyone has been pleased to hear his banter around the place and see his big cracking smile.

"We're hoping that can go over the line and he can be part of us again because he will be a great addition to the squad and he can produce what we need him to do.

"We'll see how fit he is over the next week or so but it's just great to have the big lad back and hopefully everything will get done in the next couple of days."

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