Paul: Hot Competition

Paul Goddard has warned Fredi Kanoute and Paolo Di Canio: You've got real competition now.

The Hammers assistant boss believes that the 4-4 draw at Charlton marked the resurrection of Paul Kitson, while confirming the emergence of Jermain Defoe as a genuine first team contender.

"I don't think over the last couple of years Fredi and Paolo have had a threat to them," says Paul, "and it is now nice that they will see there is competition for places.

"You need players who can score goals and we have four now; there is a 'problem' for Glenn to get the right blend but it shows whoever is playing that they have to maintain a certain standard, because there are people on the sidelines who want to get on and score.

"I have a lot of admiration for Jermain and Paul, but Paul in particular who has had to sit it out after bad luck with injuries and disagreements with the management before.

"Since I have been at the club he has trained well and loves scoring goals; we have worked a lot on our finishing in training but don't forget his all round play was excellent as well as the hat trick."

Explaining the decision to substitute him, he says: "Just before we took him off he was stretching his calf in quite a big way and, although he said 'yes, I'm okay', the thumbs up was not convincing.

"But to play your first Premiership game after so long is hard on the fitness and he did extremely well to last that long. I certainly haven't seen that happen at Premiership level where someone is out for so much time and then scores three.

"And they were three different kinds of goals; the first one was a super strike which he caught sweet, the second one was a lot better finish than a lot of people will give him credit for because he had to lift it over the keeper, and the third was a good tap in where he was there on the spot."

Paul says that Jermain showed great strength of character to overcome the boos at The Valley to score his goal and adds: "It seems a little bit strange that a young man could get that kind of stick; the decision to leave Charlton was probably out of his hands anyway but it is water under the bridge now.

"I said to him 'the only way to stop that is put one in the back of the net' and he said 'yeah, you're right'.

"He showed great technique to score the volley but we see him do it every day in training.

"The crowd pay their money and voice their opinions and I'm a big believer they can do that, but it was a little bit unfair.

"It is not nice when you are a proud person; I got a tremendous amount of stick at Millwall and I know.

"But, though it is quite weird, it is all part of the learning experience for Jermain."

Paul's major concern, however, is the defensive operation, and he adds: "It was not pleasing on Monday but people came up to me and said what a fantastic game of football it was.

"Going forward it was was exhilarating but some of the defending left a lot to be desired and cost us dearly.

"We have a very tough game coming up; if we are as loose at the back as we were the other night we will be punished more severely and it will be even harder to make up at the other end, so we must be better.

"We felt three at the back was the right option on Monday but they were never comfortable.

"It is not all down to the back three, though, there were certain things in midfield that let us down badly and Shaka had a few problems as well.

"Three at the back is not a negative tactic and when we feel it is the right thing to do we will play it."

Paul admits that the subsequent video viewing of the game was not pleasant, and adds: "It was quite strange; we got back on the bus and someone said 'shall we put it on?' but I just couldn't face it at the time.

"But we watched it with the players the next day and made certain points to certain lads, but we have got to get on with the challenges that this game is going to bring."

Svetoslav Todorov returns to the West Ham squad after a slight leg injury.

Squad to face Tottenham: James, Schemmel, Repka, Dailly, Minto, Sinclair, Lomas, Hutchison, Cole, Kitson, Defoe, Hislop, Foxe, Moncur, Todorov, Courtois, Potts, Di Canio, Carrick.