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A win is a win.

And, make no mistake, our 1-0 victory against a very poor Swansea side was a huge result for the club.

West Ham United need to get back to basicsWhilst perhaps not deserving of the hype that built over the week leading up to the fixture, it was nonetheless a massive confidence boost for everyone concerned with West Ham, not least the players. The three points sees a healthy gap open up between us and the relegation places and it is difficult to see any of those sides in the bottom three being capable of overturning a minimum eight point deficit.

The reality, however, is that this win has merely papered over some ever-widening cracks. One of the most fundamental of these is our inability to retain the ball when in possession. I accept that with a loss of confidence also comes a reluctance to accept a pass, take responsibility and hold the ball if no better option presents itself but most of our players seem to want to move the ball on as quickly as possible. The problem with that is, more often than not, that pass is misplaced or simply very poor, putting it’s recipient under pressure and ultimately resulting in a turnover of possession.

This has been a noticeable pattern in our play, particularly during our recent run of poor form. Against any side, even those in the bottom three, we’ve put ourselves under tremendous and unnecessary pressure, with our possession often breaking down after three or four passes. More often than not these passes are short five or ten yards balls that aren’t defence splitting; just simple football that should be a basic skill at any level. As a fan I find it difficult to accept when a professional footballer cannot execute a simple, straightforward pass. It is a skill coached from the earliest of ages, so for players at the very top level it shouldn’t be such a challenge. I accept that players under pressure will react but, when under pressure, shouldn’t we all do the basics right first and foremost and rely on the rest to naturally follow? In whatever walk of life we work I believe this principle applies.

Fighting for survival in any league is about showing passion and spirit but it is also about getting certain things right. The very basics of defending, attacking and retaining possession need to be in evidence across the team for it to be effective and to pick up the points necessary to maintain league status. With West Ham I don’t know if we have a coaching issue. Perhaps our training drills and methods aren’t dealing with the root cause of our dramatic loss of form. Or is it as simple as a loss of confidence because of the loss of form? Is this what has made players such as Ayew and Snodgrass, top performers for their previous clubs, look nothing short of average since signing for us?

Given yesterday’s three points, I think our Premier League status is guaranteed for at least another season but we have a tough summer of rebuilding ahead. On the evidence of this season the cure is far from as simple as Gold & Sullivan throwing the chequebook at our manager.

Originally published at moorethanjustaclub.com

Post written by Mark Scott
for Moore Than A Club, Blog: moorethanjustaclub.com, Twitter: @MooreThanAClub

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