Steve: Let's Be Boring Away

Steve Lomas says he will happily accept another boring away game at the weekend - as long as the Hammers win.

Steve can't understand the criticism of the win at Fulham - only West Ham's third on their travels - and says: "At home we have been fantastic, while away from home you are going to take pressure and it is more about grinding results out - but we have been pretty atrocious on our travels if you look at the overall picture.

"But some people's comments were a bit disparaging, saying it was a crap game - we'd take a few more crap games away from home like that and if we had had more like that we'd be sitting pretty.

"You have to find that line between the fans wanting champagne football and winning in the way you can.

"Sometimes, seeing what people write, it is daft - what do they want, good football and getting beat or a few tight games where we grind out a win?

"It might not have been the best game but it was a great result for us, we could easily have lost it and we probably would have two or three months ago.

"I don't think our football was atrocious but people have to understand no one is going to give you an easy ride away from home.

"No team in the Premiership, on their own home patch, is going to let you knock it about and keep the ball for periods of time.

"It just doesn't happen. Just look at Liverpool's tactics against us this year, when Emile Heskey was the only man up field at one stage.

"If it's good enough for them it's good enough for us, but they have it right because they play to their strengths and know that being effective is not always pretty. I'd take the effective and the three points all day long.

"I thought the comments were a bit poor from some quarters - reporters and some fans.

"But it was a classic away 1-0 win, with not many chances but taking our one and shutting up shop."

In any case, Steve still believes West Ham are the great entertainers and adds: "The consistency is coming back, and we are always interesting to watch. West Ham is everyone's second favourite team and there are usually goals galore - for a neutral we are a dream."

Steve is also quick to defend Fredi Kanoute and Joe Cole, both of whom have come in for criticism of late, and he adds: "I bet if you'd asked Mark Venus or the other lad against Ipswich recently what they thought when Fredi went off they'd have been delighted. He also gave Goma a hard time against Fulham and he has pace and power."

He denies one newspaper's assertion that there was a cheer for Fredi being brought off against Ipswich and explains: "When he was subbed it was more of a cheer for Jermain coming on because he inevitably scores - but Fredi softens them up first.

"Some woman doing a commentary was saying 'Fredi shows it to the fans', but I think his overall contribution was great.

"He has had a few injuries, which has curtailed him, and it would have been interesting to see how many he would have scored if he had played all the games.

"I know France have got some good strikers, but I'm sure if he got a chance he would show up very well on the world stage."

Nonetheless, he is a big admirer of Jermain Defoe, who scored against Ipswich, and says: "Normal players will hit a great shot clean and it will go straight down the keeper's throat but finishers will scuff one and it will go in the corner."

As for Joe Cole, who took some unnecessary stick following England's recent friendly with Italy, he says: "I have said about Joe all along there have been unrealistic expectations on him. Joe's all round game is coming on a lot this year and he has worked hard on his other attributes.

"It is going to be two or three years before he is the complete midfielder, and it is an unrealistic tag he has had for a long time and it has probably burdened him, not for himself because he just gets on with it, but what people expect of him.

"They like to look at negative points, that has always been the way, and Joe understands that now.

"They will build you up as the next big thing then drop you. He is a young lad who has played 80 games for West Ham, is still learning the game, and has a great future.

"I hope he will go on and fulfil what people expect of him, but at an early age it is an awful lot of pressure to put on a young boy.

"He just gets on with it and loves his football; we see that day to day.

"He didn't do a pre-season this year and he had two or three months where he was playing but not really fit and he has been out for a sustained period of time.

"I think he has come back well, and fair to play for him, he and Michael Carrick are going to be great players for years to come."