October 2 2014 Latest news:
Dave Evans, West Ham Correspondent
Monday, March 3, 2014
Hammers defender Guy Demel has been an essential part of West Ham’s success in the last few weeks
West Ham defender Guy Demel had to climb off his sick bed to play at Goodison Park on Saturday, but he was left disappointed after he was forced off near the end before Everton grabbed their late winner.
The 32-year-old right back has played a vital part in West Ham’s renaissance in the last month, but he confessed he simply ran out of steam in the match on Saturday.
“I had fever and I was sick,” revealed the likeable Ivory Coast international defender. “The doctor came on Monday and said I had a temperature and my glands were really swollen, so I stayed at home for a couple of days.
“I came back Thursday and trained on Friday, but it never easy when you take antibiotics. It is not an excuse, I tried my best and I tried to do my job, but I was kind of disappointed because I had to leave my team-mates on the pitch.”
When he was on the pitch, Demel had the unenviable task of having to go up against the impressive pairing of Leighton Baines and Steven Pienaar and it was Baines who finally delivered the cross for the late winner at Goodison. He has certainly been a little quieter when West Ham’s first choice full back was on the pitch.
“Everyone knows that the two of them are really good together and they played well again today,” said Demel. “But we managed to reduce their chances. It is good to play against those guys, but it is better when you beat them and I thought we did the job right.
“I thought we were unlucky because we didn’t deserve to concede the goal. Everton had a lot of possession, but 0-0 was about right.”
Demel has played in 12 of West Ham’s 13 Premier League clean sheets this season and he knows the importance of continuity in the defensive unit.
“We have kept the same team for the last few games which is good. Everyone has been fit in the last couple of weeks and it is easier if you play with the same defence every week,” he said.
“We had a period where we had so many injuries, but we have come through that and things are looking good. We have a good squad, with players like Winston Reid who is a great defender and Joey O’Brien who was good earlier in the season who can’t get in the team.
“Of course it is satisfying as a defence, but is all down to team-work. Everyone in the whole team makes an effort to retain the ball or regain it in defensive positions.
“The way we are playing is good for the team and really good for me as a defender, but now have to put this defeat behind us and go forward to try and win more football games.”
Demel has been renowned for his attacking prowess since he arrived from Hamburg in the summer of 2011, but he admits he is showing a different aspect to his game at the moment and he is still looking to improve.
“My form could be better,” he says with a shrug. “I always could be better, especially with the offensive side of my game.
“That was the best thing about my game, but now it is the defence. That is what the team needs right now, so I am doing the job, though it still could be better and I am working on it.”
While Demel is one of the unsung heroes of the team at the moment, it seems that the plaudits are certainly out for goalkeeper Adrian, but the full back was quick to point out the strength that West Ham have in that position.
“Adrian is a very good goalkeeper,” he said. “But I don’t want people to forget that Jussi Jaaskelainen was outstanding for us last season.
“This is how football is. People should know that if Adrian played well it is because he has Jussi in the background to help him on the training ground every day.
“Adrian is good and we are happy for him and I am sure the West Ham fans will see a lot of him in the future because he is really, really good. We are lucky because we have two great goalkeepers to be honest.”
Demel has his critics, but his record speaks for itself as does the fact that he has picked up just three bookings all season. He is one of the good guys and also one of the most reliable players in the squad.