Paul: A True Test

Paul Goddard says the mouth-watering clash against Chelsea on Saturday is going to be a true test of nerve - and Trevor Brooking's ability to stay in his the correct technical area!

Trevor went walkabout in his first game as caretaker manager at Maine Road on Sunday, and Paul, who was not so much sitting beside him as watching him wander off, says: "He was jumping about a bit and didn't realise about the technical area, so he kept getting told to get back in it."

While he admits Trevor, himself, and Roger Cross looked reasonably unruffled, despite Trevor's encroachment of the opposition's 'patch', there is real emotion beneath the surface.

"I think we are all a little bit like swans swimming along the water - nice and calm at the top but underneath, everything going like the clappers," he says.

"To have Trevor with his experience and knowledge of football is a big plus for us, and to have him step in during these very difficult circumstances is very lucky."

But did he swear? Paul gives the question a neat body swerve.

"Football language is football language. Trevor, in his own way, did and said the things he needed to say," he replies.

Paul concurs with Trevor's view that you don't see everything clearly from the bench - including, sometimes, the goals.

Of Fredi's winner on Sunday, he admits: "I had to actually ask the boys how it happened because so many things were going on in front of us, but Joe said he curled the short corner in, Don got a good touch, it popped back to him after the save, and then he poked it onto the post and it rolled across for Fredi.

"Then we had to defend with our lives, which we did - and I don't think David James really had to make a save in the second half.

"But in the first half it was a very open game and could have been 2-2 at half time."

Paul reckons that bringing Fredi Kanoute on at half time for Edouard Cisse to chase the win was the right thing to do, and he adds: "We made a positive change at half time and we felt that Fredi coming on was a deciding factor, but unfortunately Les had to go off, though that incorporated Don coming on and he was very good for us.

"It was a long six minutes of injury time at the end, but Les was down a long time, and so were one or two others."

Paul says Bolton grabbing a point against Arsenal the day before the Hammers took on Manchester City did not affect him, and he adds: "It didn't seem that much of a blow because we knew we had to win three games; Bolton getting another point last week was irrelevant.

"Fair play to Bolton, not too many teams get back from two goals down against Arsenal, and it just shows you what can happen at this time of the year - but we want it to go to the end."

Paul hopes the victory boosted Glenn as he continues to make good progress in hospital, and he says: "I hope the win gave Glenn a big lift when he heard about it. Last week was one of the most difficult weeks I have had to deal with in football, without doubt."

Now it is a case of looking for two more wins, and Paul concludes: "That is the target. We have picked up six points from the last two games, but it is going to be nervous and it is going to be tough.

"Chelsea are going for a Champions' League place, we have got over the hurdle of Manchester City, and we are looking forward to the next one.

"The spirit has been fantastic, we don't want to give anything up, and we want to fight to the end."