Steve Keeps His Shirt On

Steve Lomas says he was following orders when he kept his shirt on following his second headed goal in successive games at Upton Park on Saturday.

Steve set the ball rolling in the first half - but this time the celebration was more modest than against Manchester United and he admits:

"It was better celebrations than last week; I was under strict instructions from my wife to keep my shirt on and half the stand were probably glad of that - the lads reckon that they were all snow blind when I took it off against Manchester United.

"We had a lot of chances today and we should have buried them, and it was nervous having been totally in control of the game, missing a bagful of chances, and then thinking we were going to pay for it.

"We are one or two points off seventh with a game in hand, albeit Arsenal, and we have to look to get something from that.

"And as well as trying to nick a few away points, we have three home games to try to get maximum points - 50 points is the aim for us.

"It's good to get on the score sheet; there is a bit more licence to get in the box now we are playing 4-4-2; we didn't really play that before since I have been here and it gives me the chance to get forward which I always enjoyed when I was younger.

"But having played here in various positions such as the holding role I didn't get the opportunity so much, so I am relishing it, really - maybe it doesn't help to be versatile."

It has been a topsy turvy week for Steve, sent off against Liechtenstein in his international comeback.

The 0-0 draw was only the principality's fourth draw since joining UEFA in 1982 - they have also had one win - and Steve's expulsion was a contributory factor to a disappointing result for the Irish.

But he insists:

"The sending off was a shambles; the last thing I would do, especially after being out for a year, would be to elbow someone in the face.

"Maybe it looked bad on the telly with the boy rolling around five times, but team mates have told me it was just a hand as I tried to sheperd him off me, and hopefully I can appeal against it."

Meanwhile, Steve has told the critics to lay off Joe Cole, and he says:

"A lot has been heaped on his shoulders, being named the new Gazza from the age of 16 and that hasn't helped - I don't think the criticism of him this week has been fair at all."