Night out boost
Defender Collins says West Ham United galvanised after evening on the town
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).
EAST END LONDONERS INSPIRED AFTER NIGHT ABOUT TOWN
West Ham United’s James Collins in action /REUTERS