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Cottee’s Column: Changes seemed strange for Hammers at Stoke

09:19 19 March 2014

Archant

Hammers legend TC writes for you every week

Saturday at Stoke City was a disappointing performance and a second defeat on the trot, but like I have said all along this season, I am not worried about our chances of being relegated.

I have always thought that we had enough in the squad to see us in mid-table and two more wins will see us safe, though I have to say I was slightly baffled by Sam’s selections at the Britannia.

When I first heard there were four changes I wondered why. The team had just won four games on the bounced and though they lost at Everton, it was close and the team played well.

Sam obviously had his reasons and players like Winston Reid are superb, but I just felt that it may have been a couple of changes too far.

Saying that, at 2-1 to Stoke we had an enormous shout for a penalty and I have to say that it was a stonewall one for me.

I know I am part of the goalscorers union, but to my mind, if it hits a player’s arm in the box at all, it is handball and a penalty – the game is called football after all!

Their player stopped Andy Carroll getting to the ball and used his arm to do it – penalty, pure and simple.

Let’s hope the real Man U don’t show

Saturday sees Manchester United in town, but you have to say that does not feel you with dread as it would have done in the past.

I have seen five of their last six games and they have been so poor and it is difficult to understand why.

Clearly following Sir Alex Ferguson was never going to be easy, just as it was for the people who followed Brian Clough, Don Revie or John Lyall.

I think perhaps the only boss who wouldn’t have had a hard time would have been Jose Mourinho, just because he has such a presence.

United still have a lot of good players and it will not be easy, but if they don’t turn up as they haven’t for so many matches under David Moyes this season, then West Ham have a real chance.

I think this is a good time to play them and I’m going for a sneaky 2-1 win.

I am also hoping to be at the game myself, though it will be a race against time.

I always study the schedules for Sky TV to see what West Ham games I can get to and I asked my producer if I could do the early game in the studio on Saturday, so I could race over to Upton Park for the 5.30pm kick-off.

I thought the early game was going to be Chelsea v Arsenal, but it turns out that it is Derby County v Nottingham Forest at 12.15pm and I have to be at Pride Park.

Undaunted, I plan to park the car somewhere handy so I can get away sharpish and then try and get down to east London in time for kick-off.

It won’t be easy, especially as the Derby game is a big local derby, but sometimes you have to do these things for the Hammers.

Let’s hope I make it.

Come on you Irons!

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