Tuesday, March 15

A sense of belonging

What was really encouraging about West Ham's draw at Old Trafford was the way we looked so confident and took the game to the home side. Admittedly Manchester United are looking stolid compared to the Fergie years, but it's still an intimidating arena to come to. We looked like we believed we belonged in such an arena, and after wins at Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City and two draws at Man United we are entitled to believe. You got the sense that WHU are developing into a really good, mentally strong, side. Even when United equalised, Bilic and the team still believed they could win it.

It was a little worrying that Payet said he was overjoyed to score a great goal in one of the "most beautiful" stadiums in the Premier League. Hopefully that wasn't a come and get me plea to Man United, but rather an appreciation of United's stadium architecture — and if Dimitri really is such a connoisseur of stadiums, he'll surely stick around to see the fixtures and fittings at the Olympic Stadium  and our new state-of-the-art retractable stands, presumably built with a job lot of shopping trolley wheels from Green Street market.

So it could be Everton if we beat Man United, a repeat of the 1980 FA Cup semi-final. But nothing will be easy and I just hope the lads can cope with the expectation that is building towards our last home game in the FA Cup. Though we've got the distraction of going for a Champions League place. Words I can't believe I'm writing… Irons!

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