September 30 2014 Latest news:
Dave Evans, West Ham Correspondent
Thursday, February 13, 2014
Former Heavyweight champion gives pep talk to the players before victory over Norwich City
»As inspirational speakers go, there are few better than the former World Heavyweight Champion boxer Lennox Lewis.
The East Londoner with the Canadian accent visited the West Ham dressing room before Tuesday night’s clash with Norwich City and after a battle against adversity out on the pitch, it seems to have done the trick.
West Ham midfielder Mo Diame was certainly inspired anyway.
“It was great to see him,” said Diame. “He is a boxer, so he told us we were just going out there for a fight like he used to, so it was really good.”
Many thought Diame had seen his better days, others thought that he would have left in January, but he climbed off the bench on Tuesday night to help shoot the Hammers to victory over Norwich City.
The 26-year-old Senegal international replaced Matt Jarvis on the hour and by the end he had been denied by a brilliant save, crossed for the opening goal and then rounded things off with a goal of his own.
“It was great for me,” said the midfielder, who played wide on the left against the Canaries.
“I wanted to return well as I’d seen every game on TV and saw the team were doing well.
“I was just happy to be back and determined to do my best for them.
“I am focused on giving my best now and looking to play every game.”
West Ham have certainly had their fair share of criticism this season, but Diame thinks that they have finally turned a corner.
“It has been rough for us,” he agreed. “We started the season very badly, but we are getting focused.
“All the top players are back now and the squad is much bigger, even with Andy Carroll suspended. You can say we need Andy back, but every player coming back makes a difference and we all need to work hard.”
He certainly did that and he revealed that the free kick which led to the goal was something they had been concocting.
“It’s one that we work on in training,” he revealed. “Mark Noble has the first intention to play it quick to the wingers, so I was ready for that.
“He gave me the ball and I just crossed for ‘Ginge’, who put his head in there.
“For the second one, I was a bit lucky, but it’s a goal so I’ll take it.”
So will the West Ham fans who must have feared the worst for this game, especially early in the second half when Norwich piled on the pressure.
Diame came up trumps in the end, now he needs to find the consistency that made him such a champion last season.
Any ideas Lennox?