Team effort cheers Cole

At well after 8pm on Sunday, Carlton Cole cut a lone figure in the West Ham United players' car park signing autograph after autograph for a group of delighted fans.

His team-mates and manager had all departed but Cole was unconcerned about being the last one left. Two hours before he had played a major role in a thrilling fightback as the Hammers came from behind to draw 2-2 with Arsenal. As he signed pictures and programmes, T-shirts and tops, Cole more than deserved the plaudits that came his way.

Before he had walked out into the night to receive the praise from fans, Cole spoke about his man of the match contribution and his determination to see the team start picking up even more points.

"It was a really turbulent match," he said. "We had gone 2-0 down and our backs were against the wall. When we came in at half-time and we were 2-0 down, I don't think we deserved it. The players just dug in and in the second half we got the results that we wanted. The second half we won 2-0.

"As professional footballers we can't have that attitude that 'if we're 2-0 down we can't come back into the game' - you've got to keep plugging away. I wasn't happy at half-time. I want to put in a performance where I can say I at least tried my best and it actually turned into our favour and we could have gone on to win the game even with ten men.

"It's not just the starting XI that has got the influence in the game. It is the substitutes, the staff in and around the game. Everyone has got a part to play. The subs that came on did brilliantly. Alessandro [Diamanti] got his goal and Zavon [Hines] was a nuisance and that's all you can ask for from your substitutes. They were brilliant."

Also deserving of praise were the fans, like those who had braved the cold for a chance to get his signature. Cole was pleased to be able to repay them on the pitch for singing his name throughout and urging him on. "The fans want to see entertainment and they got their fair share of it today with four goals. We could have played better but I think we deserved a 2-2 draw and we got the result."