Teddy Shows His Class

LAST week proved quite successful for Teddy Sheringham, on a personal level at least.

Captain against Crewe and Leicester in the absence of Steve Lomas, the former England striker turned in two virtuoso performances. His free-kick goal against the Railwaymen was top-class, while another two strikes against Leicester proved that the 38-year-old forward is still a high-quality performer.

But Teddy's joy was tempered by two points out of a possible six, results that belied some fine West Ham displays.

"We certainly had the chances to win both games," he admitted. "In the Crewe match we had a lot of chances towards the end of the game and were disappointed not to come away with three points.

"It was a similar story against Leicester, although I think the character we showed to come back from two goals down was tremendous for such a young team.

"Going in 2-1 down at half-time could have been tough, but we came out in the second-half and really got stuck into them. After we equalised we were the only team that looked like winning it.

"To take just two points out of those two games was definitely a blow, but the performance we gave, particularly against Leicester, was encouraging.

"If we can keep playing to those sort of levels then we'll still have a good chance of securing a place in the Play-offs.

Obviously we've given ourselves some work to do, but everybody in the squad is still confident we can do it, and after the Easter break we need to come back fresh and ready to start putting some results on the board."

Teddy's decision to give Marlon Harewood the second-half penalty, despite being on a hat-trick surprised many observers. However, the 17 goal striker, explained that he has an agreement to share spot-kick responsibilities with Marlon, and Friday was his turn.

"We're both able penalty takers," said Teddy, "and although I was on a hat-trick Marlon and I have an agreement to share the penalty taking. He wanted to take it and it was his turn, that's all there is to it.

"Both of us are capable of scoring them, both of us can miss them. Unfortunately, on that Ian Walker made the save, but Marlon is quite capable of scoring from the spot and there's been no problem with the arrangement in the past.

"You can look at the penalty as a good chance that came and went, but we had others in both games. Marlon was upset at missing, but it's the team's responsibility and we have to shoulder that responsibility together."

Now the squad will look for the right response over the Easter break and prepare for two tough away trips to Wigan and Burnley when the League programme resumes in two weeks time.

"Not winning in either of those two games has left us with plenty to do," admitted Teddy, "and now we need to go up to Wigan and Burnley and look to get something.

"It's not going to be easy, but we've got a couple of weeks to prepare and if we can give a similar performance to the Leicester game we'll have a good chance of taking some points from those games."

Always ready to offer the benefit of his experience to younger players, Teddy was impressed at the way Hammers young stars coped with the pressure of two important home games in a week.

"The two centre-backs, Anton and Elliott Ward, did very well together," he exclaimed, "especially as Elliott was making his debut. He looked very composed and seeing those two play so well together should be a huge boost for the future.

"Mark Noble also did well in those games. I've been really impressed with Mark since coming to the Club. I love players who can play good, one-touch football, and his movement and vision are excellent.

"He's a credit to the Club and will be an important player in years to come."