West Ham ace pleased with defensive start

West Ham defender, James CollinsWest Ham United defender James Collins says he is delighted with the start the Hammer’s defence has made to the season, according to the club’s official website.

Collins rejoined West Ham for an undisclosed fee from Aston Villa and has been part of a Hammers defence that has only conceded in one Premier League game so far this season.

The Welshman is pleased with his side’s start to the campaign, “The manager has said to us about the importance of keeping clean sheets, because it always gives you a chance of winning any game. We have been working on that and apart from the match at Swansea, we have been on target.”

West Ham kept their third clean sheet of the season in a goalless draw at Norwich on Saturday, and the 29-year-old admits it is a game that could have gone either way, “Against Norwich we had chances, so did they and people watching will probably wonder how it stayed 0-0. There were lots of opportunities for us both, but no one could stick the ball in the back of the net, so I suppose you could say a draw was a fair result. For us it was another clean sheet and a point to take home.”

One of the talking points of the game was referee Chris Foy’s decision to award Norwich a free-kick right on the edge of the box instead of a penalty. Collins believes that a lot of credit must be given to Foy, “I was pretty confident it was outside the area but fair play to the referee, he made a great decision. We saw it again and the ref said before making a decision he looked at where the marks were on the pitch, from me sliding in to make the tackle. They were outside the box, so he made the right decision.”

West Ham’s return to the Premier League began with a 1-0 victory at home to Aston Villa. However, the Hammers were brought back down to earth in their first away game of the campaign losing 3-0 at Swansea. Collins admits that he and Winston Reid have learned a lot since that game, “We were bitterly disappointed that day in Swansea, me personally as well. Individual mistakes cost us but since then we have been spot on and long may it continue.”

Collins was also full of praise for West Ham’s newly acquired goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen, “Jussi has made some great saves. He is right up there with the best keepers I have played with, he talks well on the pitch and in the dressing room. He has played longer in the Premier League for longer than I can remember now. His experience meant that for some of the shots, he already knew which way they were going to go and that is great for helping us boys in front of him.”

Collins will be hoping that he and Reid can keep another clean sheet when they entertain a Sunderland side who also have one of the best defensive records in the Premier League this season. West Ham will continue to be without Andy Carroll as the striker picked up a hamstring injury in the victory over Fulham at the beginning of the month.