Mullins In Control

IT was another commanding midfield display from Hayden Mullins that helped Hammers to their 2-1 victory over Middlesbrough.

Ask any of his Hammers colleagues and they will tell you that Hayden is something of an unsung hero of West Ham's strong start to the season. Hard working and solid in possession, Hayden's presence allows the more attack-minded members of the team to get forward.

An essential cog in Pards' team, Hayden was delighted with the performance on Sunday, insisting both he and the team needed a good showing.

"After a couple of poor games it was important for us to put in a performance against Middesbrough," explained the 26-year-old former Crystal Palace star.

"It was a very important win coming just a week after our first away defeat against Manchester City. The home form for us is really important. We know that we need to make it difficult for teams to come to Upton Park, and the way to do that is to keep putting wins on the board.

"The fans packed out the Stadium again, it was a great atmosphere and we were delighted to respond to last weekend's result with the type of performance we needed."

As for the controversy surrounding the second goal, Hayden believes Hammers deserved the break they got after creating a host of chances.

"It was definitely a break for us," he admitted, "but I don't think anyone could argue that we didn't deserve to win the game.

"We created a lot of chances and should have gone in ahead at the break. Teddy took his goal really well and then we were putting the pressure on.

"The second goal was obviously important becuase it gave us the cushion we needed. They nicked a goal back from a set-piece, which we were disappointed about, but we dug in, held on and it was a three points that we were all delighted about.

"Now we've got the Carling Cup game against Bolton on Wednesday, and it would be really good to keep the momentum going with a win.

"We definitely want to win every game that we play and we'll be taking the Carling Cup match seriously. We want to go through and do well in the competition."

Hayden is cautious not to talk about turning points in the season just yet, but the midfielder does feel that the Middlesbrough match was vital in getting the squad back into the groove.

"We didn't play well at Sunderland and were lucky to get away with a draw and then we didn't play well at Manchester City," he said. "They were two poor performances and we really needed to show our mettle against Middlesbrough.

"The squad felt that we had to bounce back at home and the good performance has given us another lift that we'll take into the games this week."