Nolan praises team performance

Kevin Nolan praised his team’s performance against Chelsea in an agonising 1-0 defeat to the league leaders at the Boleyn Ground.

In a highly entertaining game, the Hammers had 18 shots to the Blues' 12, however they could not find a way past an inspired Thibaut Courtois, while Eden Hazard’s close range header was enough to take all three points.

Speaking after the game, the 32-year-old captain, who was voted West Ham's man-of-the-match on Twitter, said: “We’re disappointed that we didn’t get the result to match the performance. The lads were fantastic tonight and we thoroughly deserved something from the game.

“We had so much pressure but it didn’t quite fall for us. They’ve got a world class keeper that you have to beat and I thought he was top notch tonight.

“He made some massive, massive saves at times. In the next few games we got teams in and around us and hopefully we can keep that level of performance and start getting up that table again.”

Due to the good form of Cheikhou Kouyate and Mark Noble, Nolan has had limited starting opportunities of late, however the experienced midfielder took his opportunity with both hands as he put in a typically hard-working performance, keeping the likes of Cesc Fabregas and Oscar relatively quiet.

In an impressive display, Nolan made four of his side’s 15 tackles as well as boasting an 86% passing accuracy and his efforts were almost rewarded as Courtois saved his effort from near point balnk range.

“It’s been a tough couple of months for me, it’s been hard and I’m not going to deny it. The only thing I’ve ever known is playing football regularly. When I get my chance I’m going to try and take it, that’s the only thing I can do. I’ve done a lot in my career, I don’t need to prove myself to anyone.

“I’m not thinking about anything else other than West Ham, I’ve had a fantastic time here so far, I love the place, I love the club. I’ve got a great affiliation with everyone involved with the club, I want it to continue and hopefully the opportunities will come.

“The second half was arguably the best football we’ve played all season, and we’ve put in some fantastic performances against some big teams. Tonight was just so unfortunate that we couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net. I think if we had scored one, we probably would’ve scored more, but it just wasn’t to be.”

Following a run of tough fixtures which has seen the Hammers play all the top seven teams since Christmas, except Manchester City, they now find themselves tenth in the Premier League. However, Nolan was firm in his belief that the results will come if they can repeat the level of performances seen against Chelsea.

“We’ve ten games to go, there’s no doubt in my mind that if we perform like we did today we’ll get back up the league and get points on the board.

“I don’t think the season will slip away. We’ve got a lot of games coming that we can win and get points from. We’ve got Arsenal and Manchester City but then everyone else is in or around us and it’s up to us to get the points from those games.

“We’ve had a fantastic start to the season, what we’ve got to do is make sure we have a fantastic end to the season as well.”