Defoe: We Deserved To Win

Jermain Defoe says he thoroughly enjoyed the occasion against Manchester United on Sunday - even if West Ham did not get the win he felt was deserved.

Despite West Ham's position, Jermain reveals he revelled in being under scrutiny and says:

"It was better to have a pressure game with a full house and being on TV - it meant we were really under the spotlight and the lads responded really well.

"To be honest I thought we were the better side especially in the first half."

Jermain had a 'goal' disallowed for offside in the first half and says:

"When I looked across to the linesman and saw his flag up I thought 'oh, it is not to be, it is not meant to happen again.'

"I generally look across to the linesman because it always happens so quickly and you never know if you are offside or not.

"But we dug in, worked hard, and got the result in the end - we didn't let our heads go down, and got a good result."

Of course, West Ham did not get a similar break later in the half when Ruud van Nistelrooy appeared offside at the moment the ball was played through to Ole Gunnar Solksaer to square it to him for Manchester United's goal, and Jermain says:

"When we came in at half time a lot of the lads said they had watched it on the video and it was offside.

"We wondered then if it was going to happen and then I got another chance, hit the bar, and thought 'it definitely isn't going to go in today.'

"But I was fortunate to get the chance at the end - and there was no way I was going to miss that."

The key for Jermain, who had what looked a perfectly valid goal chalked off for offside against Fulham, was to keep his head up through a barren spell that saw him playing, despite his stature, as the 'main' striker in the continued absence of Fredi Kanoute.

"I always look forward to every game," he insists, "even if I am not scoring, because anything can happen - and I played against them twice last year and scored so it is a good run.

"When you haven't scored for a while your confidence drops but I felt I played quite well on Sunday and hopefully I can move on from there.

"I have not let my head drop at all, working hard in training, and doing the things I have always done - and it paid off."

Of course Sir Alex Ferguson, who has not commented on whether his side's goal was offside, has been vehement of Jermain's goal not being disallowed, but he says:

"I think when you work hard you get lucky - and that is what happened yesterday.

"It has been difficult in the last few weeks for us, not having won at home, and it is always tough against sides like Manchester United because of the players they have got.

"But not to lose, and to play well, was important - and I always look forward to playing against the best."

Although that first home win remains elusive, Jermain say Glenn Roeder can take a lot of satisfaction from the performance - and insists all the players are right behind him.

"It is very important because the gaffer is under a lot of pressure, but after that result I think a lot of people can relax a little bit in that sense - as long as we keep working hard on the training field.

"We have all stuck together and played for the gaffer - who is a really nice man.

"People shouldn't forget we started the campaign badly last season just like this but - we picked it up, and that is what we are aiming to do this year.

"We have been working hard in training and after it, doing fitness work with John McCarthy and the team." Jermain is also delighted for the supporters and he adds:

"The fans are always great anyway and I think they deserved that result."

And lastly, he was grateful, not unnaturally, to get the man of the match award.

"It was very pleasing to get man of the match as I have been working hard without things going my way; I tried to keep my head up, I am still young and still learning," he says.

David James is delighted for him too, and adds:

"He works hard and got his just rewards on Sunday; he has been trying and trying and the opportunities haven't been coming to him.

"He is a young player on a learning curve, but he looks to Paolo and the senior players for feedback." Of the situation in general, he adds:

"We as players are responsible; we have had sessions looking at videos and a few home truths have been said - but we set our stall out against Manchester United, and we have got to start doing more for the manager because he deserves it.

"We've all made it clear how much we are behind Glenn and now it is up to the players to take responsibility; it is not a question of whether the manager is doing the right thing or not - in fact, he probably does too much.

"The first half against Leeds recently was diabolical and sitting in the dressing room at 4-1 was very tough for everyone involved; that was as low as we were ever going to get and we have changed as a team since that moment.

"Considering Manchester United beat us 5-3 at Upton Park last season, Sunday was a good result for us, but now we have to make sure we keep moving upwards."

Last word, though, to Jermain Defoe, who says that the second half performance against Leeds United inspired the boys on Sunday.

"When you concede four goals in the first half it is always difficult, especially in the Premiership" he says, master of understatement.

"But I felt in the second half we played really well against Leeds.

"The gaffer said 'do that from the first whistle' - which we did."