Night out boost

De­fender Collins says West Ham United gal­vanised af­ter evening on the town

The Star (Kenya) - - Sports International Football -

LON­DON / A much-pub­li­cised play­ers’ night out helped to gal­vanise West Ham af­ter a ter­ri­ble start to the Premier League sea­son, de­fender James Collins said.

Four con­sec­u­tive league de­feats had left the Ham­mers in the bot­tom three, prompt­ing coach Slaven Bilic to grant his squad a late night out on Mon­day as a team-bond­ing ex­er­cise.

Re­ports of some play­ers be­ing in­volved in an all-night drink­ing ses­sion sur­faced dur­ing the week but Collins played them down af­ter West Ham snapped their los­ing se­quence with a 1-1 home draw with Mid­dles­brough on Satur­day.

“There was a lot writ­ten (about the player’s night out) when there was no need to,” Collins told re­porters.

“If it was last year and we were seen out noth­ing would have been said. Some­times a night like that when we are all sat around the ta­ble with peo­ple chat­ting about dif­fer­ent ideas it is as good as a train­ing ses­sion.

“Ob­vi­ously it worked, we knew what we had to do and we were bet­ter to­day but ob­vi­ously we would have liked the win.”

West Ham fell be­hind to Cristhian Stu­ani’s header shortly af­ter the break but Dim­itri Payet scored a daz­zling equaliser.

Un­til then West Ham had of­fered few glimpses of the foot­ball that saw them push for a top-four spot last sea­son but Collins said an in­creased work rate was en­cour­ag­ing.

“We haven’t been work­ing hard enough and we’ve spo­ken about it all week,” Collins said. “Ob­vi­ously we watched the game at the week­end (a 3-0 de­feat to Southamp­ton).


West Ham United’s James Collins in ac­tion /REUTERS

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