Thursday, January 17, 2013
It was the day for the Sunderland fans to get their own back on West Ham skipper Kevin Nolan.
So often a thorn in the side of the Black Cats, with four goals in two games against them when playing for deadly rivals Newcastle United two seasons ago, this time it was revenge for the home supporters.
Chants of ‘your chicken is dead’ rang out around the Stadium of Light to emphasise the fact and Nolan was the first to see the funny side of things.
“It was good banter to be fair to them,” said the 30-year-old after Saturday’s dismal 3-0 defeat. “But I can tell them it is definitely not dead and it will be back, so they best watch out.”
A little bit of fun, but in truth it was a mere distraction from a terrible performance from the Hammers as they surrendered to a drubbing without really getting in a blow of their own.
“There are no excuses really, we were very poor all day long,” admitted the captain.
“Hats off to Sunderland, they played well and 3-0 probably flattered us a bit in the end.”
It did. West Ham gave the ball away too often, they gave no support and scant service to Carlton Cole up front, while Sunderland caused problems all afternoon on the flanks.
“It was just one of those days,” said Nolan. “We had 11 lads who just weren’t on it and sometimes that happens.
“We couldn’t get hold of the ball in the first half, I think I was playing for Sunderland for half the game!
“We are bitterly disappointed, but we have got to take it on the chin, get back on the training ground and work hard and get ready for the next game.”
Nolan believes that ups and downs are always likely for a team that have just come up.
“I think if we can keep everyone as fit, then we can push on,” he said. “When I came up with Newcastle it was similar.
“As a newly-promoted side, you go through an up and down spell. What you have to do is keep it all on an even keel, keep it steady.
“When we made a strong start to the season, we knew we couldn’t think too far ahead or get too carried away.”
There is no chance of that after Saturday’s dismal demise, now they must bounce back.