Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Mellor Makes Mark with Perfect Timing

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Mellor Makes Mark with Perfect Timing

Article excerpt


TIMING is everything.

Neil Mellor showed his sense of occasion at Upton Park last night with his first two goals for West Ham since coming to East London on loan from Liverpool.

With Jermain Defoe now starting a two-match ban, West Ham desperately needed a confidence boost for 20-year-old Mellor. He duly obliged in the comprehensive 3-0 defeat of Crystal Palace.

It would be a help to Palace manager Steve Kember if his flamboyant chairman Simon Jordan would take the time to break his vow of silence on affairs at Selhurst Park.

With each setback - and there have been a few of late - Kember expects the same question in what has become an open season on managers.

Indeed, he came into to debate Palace's defeat singing the Queen song "Under Pressure".

"I had a bet that the first question I would be asked is about being under pressure," he explained. "Am I? Only from the wife. I haven't taken her out this week!"

He insisted that while confidence

confidence might be dented after a horrendous run that has now brought six defeats from eight games and witnessed the decline of the team from top to 20th place, morale remains high.

He would benefit immensely from a timely message of support from Jordan.

Not the dreaded vote of confidence which is usually a prelude to the arrival of a P45 in the post but just a few well-chosen words of assurance that he will be given the time he needs to build the team he wants and bring the success the chairman craves.

There is little Kember and his assistant Terry Bullivant can do about the mistakes that brought West Ham their goals. "Suicide," is how Kember described it. "We encourage the team to pass, but we gave the ball away in crucial situations during the game. All three goals were down to us giving away possession.

"We were passing the ball at the wrong time. Sometimes they have to put their foot through it instead of trying to pass the ball out. If you give a team licence to play and they don't do the right

things at the right time, then they are going to be punished."

Michael Hughes will vouch for that. …

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