Former Player Blog - Tony Cottee

West Ham United great Tony Cottee previews Saturday's trip to another of his old clubs - Leicester City

Hello everyone,

We face one of my old clubs, Leicester City, at the King Power Stadium on Saturday and it’s a massive game for them considering they are bottom of the table as things stand.

Leicester are just not taking their chances and that’s been their problem all season. They had a slow start to the season, then famously beat Manchester United 5-3 in a fantastic game, but then they had a dip in form and have been struggling in the bottom three ever since.

Aside from the odd game, Leicester have got a big problem with scoring goals. They paid a lot of money for Leonardo Ulloa and he started well, but he has faded off a little bit.

They also paid a lot of money for the Croatian Andrej Kramaric and he got a couple of goals when he first came into the team but hasn’t scored for a while. They’ve also got David Nugent and Jamie Vardy as well, so they have got a lot of forward players there but they have struggled to take their chances and convert draws into wins.

If they had converted some of them, they would be higher up the league. I always felt it was going to be a difficult season for them, because coming up from the Championship is always tough. The main aim for a club like Leicester is to finish 17th or above, even if it comes down to the last kick of the season, just stay in the Premier League.

They have still got a chance of doing that, but they’ve got to start taking chances and winning games.

If you look at their squad, you would say it has enough quality in it to stay in the Premier League, but you’ve got to get results. Speaking from experience, even though it is 15 years since I played in the Premier League, I am sure every single game is a hard slog because it is a physically and mentally demanding league.

You have to be on your game every week and if you are in a relegation-threatened team, it happens too often that you are not quite on your game as an individual or as a team and you go three goals down and you start playing and can’t make up the goals.

It’s a difficult league and you’ve got to be on your game. Yes, there is enough quality in that squad, but you have got to get the results.

If you look at their squad, you would say it has enough quality in it to stay in the Premier League, but you’ve got to get results
There has been some turmoil with Nigel Pearson and you’ve got to have stability at a football club to get the best out of the players. Yes, I believe Leicester can stay up but they are certainly making hard work of it.

Talking of Nigel, I think he has done well. He took over and got Leicester promoted with a really great season last year.

He has got his own unique way of managing, I think it is fair to say. I was in his press conferences and it is interesting to listen to him. You don’t always get what you want out of him, but it’s always an interesting interview when you watch him.

He likes to manage from the stands and has been criticised for that, but I don’t get it because you get a better view from the stand. If that’s what he wants to do, then as long as you’re in contact with the bench, I don’t see it as a problem.

As I say, he has a unique way of managing but he’ll ultimately be judged on results. It’s a harsh world out there and everyone wants immediate success and to stay in the Premier League, but it’s immensely difficult for Leicester to do that.

There are a lot of teams scrapping away to try to keep their heads above water. I hope it doesn’t happen, but if Leicester do get relegated there will be big pressure on Nigel and I think he is big enough to handle that pressure.

When you are relegated, there are no guarantees that you will come back up. I cover the Championship games week-in, week-out for Sky and I turn up not knowing who is going to beat who.

I covered a game recently between Fulham and Derby and everyone was expecting Derby to win four or five-nil, yet Fulham won two-nil. Fulham, Cardiff and Norwich have all had difficult times this season and once you drop into the Championship there is no guarantee you will get out of it.

No-one should under-estimate the job Sam did in getting the Club back into the Premier League after just one season out of it. We did it the best possible way by winning the Play-Off final at Wembley – a great day my two sons still talk about now.

We did a great job getting back because the Championship is a really tough league and it’s somewhere you don’t want to go back to.

We’ve had a good season and don’t need to talk about relegation. We were safe by Christmas and that’s where we want to be as a football club, looking up above us and seeing if we can compete with the top seven and for a place in the Europa League. We need to steady the ship and gradually build for the coming years.

Enjoy the game on Saturday. Come on you Irons!

Tony Cottee