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Harry's Views and Comments


HAMMERS BOSS, Harry Redknapp, is confident his side will soon be challenging in the higher echelons of the Premiership after securing their first point of the season.

Redknapp's troops produced a stunning fightback in the final five minutes with goals from Paolo Di Canio and Davor Suker snatching a draw against champions, Manchester United.

Defeat would have been harsh on the Hammers as they dominated for the majority of the first half, and could have entered the interval comfortably ahead.

It has been a familiar story throughout the opening week of the new campaign, with the results not accurately reflecting the team's performances.

But with the first point safely tucked under their belts, Redknapp is adamant the Hammers will quickly claw their way up the table.

And Redknapp admits he is pleased with the performances his side have put in during their opening three matches.

He said: "We have played so well and I'm not one of those boring managers who say we were unlucky because if you get beaten and have not played well, I'm the first to say so.

"To be 2-0 down when you have had so much of the game was almost unbelievable, but we got our just desserts in the end.

"Overall, it was a great performance and I'm proud of our three performances even though we have only got one point, but I know we will be up there in the end."


HAMMERS BOSS, Harry Redknapp, is confident that if the team can sustain their current level of performance, they will soon reap the rewards they deserve.

Despite only registering one point from their opening three Premiership fixtures, the Hammers' displays on the pitch have merited much more.

West Ham raised the curtain on the campaign with a 4-2 defeat at London rivals, Chelsea, although Redknapp's troops were unfortunate not to claim a draw.

The following Wednesday, the Hammers crashed to a 1-0 home loss against a resilient Leicester side, but the match should have been beyond the reach of the visitors prior to Igor Stimac's controversial sending-off.

And last week, they pulled off a stunning late fightback to earn a point against champions, Manchester United, although after a dominant first half performance, nobody would have begrudged the Hammers all three points.

Ultimately, though, the bare facts are that West Ham have lost two and drawn one of their opening trio of encounters and are currently propping up the Premiership table.

Redknapp, though, is adamant that providing the players maintain their current standard, the club will be challenging in the top half of the table.

He also believes there is no danger of the Hammers being trapped in the bottom half, come the campaign's conclusion.

"If we play like we did in all three games, we will climb the table, and come the end of the season we won't be down at the bottom," said Redknapp.

"It's not where you start, it's where you finish and we will finish up the table as we have done for the last three years."

Harry Hits Back

Harry Redknapp has hit back at suggestions that his team are playing over-elaborate football.

The Hammers' boss is understandably perplexed by newspaper reports suggesting his players need to simplify their traditional passing game, but insists that the criticisms do not bother him.

He blasted:

"It's all about some idiot writing in the newspaper who has never kicked a ball in his life. I don't know what he wants to criticize for, saying Paolo and Joe were doing tricks. Their performances were excellent.

"If you were playing defensively and smacking the ball up the field for some big centre forward to head on you'd be criticized for that. You can't win with them.

"When you have a couple of dickie results they jump on the bandwagon...that's how it is. You mustn't take it too seriously: They don't know what they are talking about. If you start listening to what they say you've got to be a fool."

Rio Ferdinand and Joe Cole are both quoted in newspapers today backing their boss. Cole says:

"It's just about getting the balance right; when it comes off it's brilliant."

And Ferdinand added:

"I wouldn't say we are overelaborating, it's just that good performances aren't getting us points."

Harry, meanwhile has taken a 21-man squad to Walsall and is keeping his cards close to his chest about who is injured. But he admits that he will have to rest several players who are carrying injuries. He says:

"There are a few out, and I've got some young 'uns on the bench. I have got a group of injuries and I don't want to take any chances. I can't afford to lose players for 4, 5, or 6 weeks. It's just not worth it.

"But I want to win every game, whether it's the youth, reserves, or whatever. Ray Graydon has done a good job and they'll make it hard."

Included in the final 16 tonight could be 6 players whose last time out at the Bescot stadium was on Feb 22 1999 on the way to winning the FA Youth Cup. Terrell Forbes, Sean Byrne, Adam Newton, Steve Bywater, Joe Cole, and Michael Carrick were involved in that win. Harry says:

"We have a group of kids in the squad and then it's senior players. I haven't got a group of good 20-21 year olds pushing to get in, the 'in betweens' are all in the team. But I'd rather produce a couple of world beaters than a bunch of average ones."

Also in the squad is Jermain Defoe, the 16 year old striker, and he is almost certain to be on the bench. * The club is still hopeful of getting clearance for Haydn Foxe to play in this country, but there is no announcement to make as yet.

Harry's delight

Hammers boss Harry Redknapp was delighted following the win against Newcastle at the Boleyn this afternoon, which took his side out of the relegation zone for the first time since August.

"We needed that result today," he said. "A team can start to lose confidence if a poor run continues, so yes, we needed that."

And Redknapp also had special praise for match-winner Freddy Kanoute, whose second half strike earned all three points.

"Freddy is an absolutely outstanding talent," he said. "He had only scored once before this season; he needed that goal for his confidence."

Stuart Pearce, the former Newcastle player also came in for special praise.

"I thought he was fantastic today. What an example he and the likes of Nigel Winterburn set to the kids," Harry said. "We've got lots of players with ability; Ian Pearce did marvellous as well today."

And Harry was keen to set the record straight over reports that he and Paolo Di Canio had not been seeing eye to eye lately.

"Paolo worked his socks off today," he said. "Hopefully he'll be here for a few years yet."

Accredited to Kumb ( thanks & by ORDER of West Ham United F.C.

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