Clarke piles pressure on Green

BY foxsports • December 16, 2009

Steve Clarke believes Robert Green needs to play "the game of his life" this weekend after the keeper's blunder in the 3-1 defeat at Bolton.

With the game balanced at 1-1, Green inexplicably dropped Gary Cahill's bouncing effort in the 77th minute, allowing Ivan Klasnic to finish with ease.

The error proved crucial for the Hammers, who eventually went down 3-1 at the Reebok Stadium and are now 19th, two points adrift of Bolton and Wolves.

Clarke, West Ham's assistant manager, admitted afterwards Green's mistake was the turning point in the match and said the beleaguered England goalkeeper needs a stand-out performance in Sunday's fixture against Chelsea to hit back at his critics.

"We just got back in the game, it looked as if we were in control and Rob has unfortunately made a mistake and it is something that we couldn't come back from," said Clarke. "Football is all about mistakes. He has made a mistake but he is a man and he'll deal with it.

"He'll recover and the best thing he can do is go out on Sunday and have the game of his life. That is what he has to do - he has to respond."

Clarke insisted the players are under no illusions about their current plight but is confident they will soon turn the corner. "The feeling in the dressing room is that we know we are in a bad position," said Clarke.

"We know we haven't got enough points. The quicker we can get a win the better - but we don't just need one win, we need three, four, five wins.

"We are not stupid. We understand the situation and we are working as hard as we can to rectify it.

"At the moment it's not easy but we have confidence in the players, in ourselves and we are sure we can get out of the bottom three."

Lee Chung-Yong and Cahill joined Klasnic on the scoresheet for Bolton, who moved out of the relegation zone thanks to Wolves' 3-0 defeat at Manchester United. Gary Megson admitted there was tension at half-time after the team had failed to convert a host of chances but the manager believes Wanderers can now start looking up rather than down having built on their impressive 3-3 draw with Manchester City on Saturday.

"We thought tonight that if we won this we would be out of the bottom three given the nature of Wolves' game," Megson said. "But we also knew that if we did get out of the bottom three - I think we're now three points away from 12th.

"We have a hugely significant and difficult game at Wigan on Monday night but we've taken four points out of the last six and we have got to try and keep that momentum that we have gained.

"I think there was a bit of anxiety today - not just from the players, but from the supporters, from myself, the staff, everybody because the game was not exactly a procession, but not far off it in the first half.

"I can't remember West Ham having an effort at goal or a cross or anything that was remotely dangerous, and yet you look at the quality and you think that they are not going to need too many opportunities. "To be perfectly frank, I felt we played better on Saturday against City than we did today but we have scored three goals at home in the last two games."

West Ham suffered another blow as injury-plagued midfielder Kieron Dyer, who was making his first start for three months, limped off midway through the first half.

"Unfortunately he just felt a tightening in his hamstring," said Clarke. "It wasn't a tear, just another small pull and it could be an injury for another two or three weeks.

"To be honest I am just disappointed for the player. He has worked very hard to get himself in a position where he can start a game and he gives us something extra."


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