Paul: We Must Play Better

Paul Goddard insists the side must play better against Liverpool on Saturday than they did against Derby if they are to get something out of the game.

"It ended up a super result though it was not a fantastic display," says Paul.

"It was a very nervy game for us and even though we got an early goal we didn't perform too well until the last 15 minutes.

"No one knows the answer - we certainly had four or five players not quite playing full pelt and we just couldn't get going.

"But fair play to Derby, they have made it awkward and worked hard to block us out.

"But we spoke about it at half-time and said that we knew we could do a lot better. The shape of the game changed when the boy got sent off even though before that I thought the signs were there that we were starting to get it together.

"But the sending off didn't help them and they lost Chris Riggott as well, so you can never tell what the score might have been - but it was obviously quite a tense game up until then.

"Come Saturday when Liverpool come here we will have to raise ourselves quite a bit to get something out of that game.

"Both the front boys were having quiet games. I thought Fredi was a little bit quiet and inept at times but then he sparked to life a couple of times.

"It just wasn't happening for Paolo but he took his goal very well.

"Trevor was having a poor game by his standards and then popped up with a fantastic goal, his first of the season.

"We have had a little bit of a thing with him in recent weeks about scoring his first goal and strangely enough he scored an overhead kick in training this week that had everyone stop and applaud. It was probably a little bit better than the one he scored against Derby but it shows he has that ability.

"It was a great ball from Joe who spotted him at the back post - a tremendous goal."

Paul was happier with the midfield display and says of the central defensive unit: "It doesn't take too much to work out they have got lovely balance. Joe made some mistakes yesterday but he is learning and Michael is a super player.

"I thought Don Hutchison was one of our better players and the balance has looked a lot better since we made the switch."

And he has no complaints about some of the trickery that went on against Derby, adding: "At the right time in the right place it is okay. You can't take that out of players because if you do you lose that bit of inspiration they have, and you can't be too regimental."

Well said, Sarge!

"You have to have a bit of flair and if it works great - if it doesn't you get told off."

West Ham are hoping to avenge the 2-1 defeat at the start of the season when Michael Owen grabbed both goals at Anfield.

"Michael was the difference on the day up there, the second goal was a super one for him, so let's hope he catches the flu or something!

"I have seen them play a few times this year and they do tend to sit deep when they play away from home and catch you on the break.

"They are a top three side with a great chance to win the league; they have untold resources squad wise, fantastic riches."

Owen could be partnered by Nicolas Anelka at Upton Park, but Paul is reluctant to draw comparisons between him and Fredi Kanoute, and he says: "I remember Nicolas Anelka at Arsenal and he is a similar build to Fredi, though I think Fredi is a bit bigger.

"Fredi is awesome and unstoppable when he is totally focused on the game but there are times when he lapses into casual mode.

"But Saturday is a great chance to give it a good crack to see if we can get something out of the game.

"We have got a spirit going there now; the players know that and we can sense it; we just want to maintain it."

As for the draw at Leicester, he says: "Leicester was a tough game against a big, strong, physical side; we had loads of possession against them but didn't really penetrate them.

"We conceded a bit of a sloppy goal just before half-time and then dominated the second half until we scored and they got a man sent off.

"For whatever reason again, instead of keeping the foot on the pedal we took it off and ended up just having a couple of minor scares from free-kicks and things - but I thought we thoroughly deserved a draw there."

Meanwhile, Paul feels the coverage of the players' Christmas party was somewhat hysterical, and he adds: "It has been dealt with but it has been blown out of all proportion; certainly the incident was not what we want but the player has apologised and he wants to get on with the football.

"We feel victimised a little bit; everyone has jumped on our backs, but we are moving forward.

"I have been to a few Christmas parties that you wouldn't want on the front of the papers, like anybody has, and obviously I appreciate we are in a high profile business, but it has been carried a little bit too far.

"But we are all looking forward to Liverpool now."