Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

Controlling Suarez key for Collins

James Collins, left, marked Luis Suarez, right, out of the game at Anfield

James Collins has revealed he was prepared to foul Luis Suarez at Anfield on Sunday if it meant stopping the Liverpool striker running free in the West Ham box.

Collins and central defensive partner James Tomkins earned plenty of praise for their efforts, which went a long way towards earning the Hammers a goalless draw that eased them slightly further away from the dreaded relegation zone.

The key was keeping Suarez quiet and Collins told www.whufc.com: "I thought about how I was going to defend against him before the game."

With 29 goals for the Uruguayan this season, that has not been the easiest of tasks as so many Premier League defenders can testify.

But after analysing his game, Collins felt the best way to approach the task was to keep Suarez as far upfield as possible, even if it meant incurring the wrath of referee Anthony Taylor at times.

Collins added: "Suarez nutmegged me twice to be fair but I knew if you drop off, he is turning and running at you. I thought if I could get as tight as possible and tackle him as high up the pitch as possible, even if I fouled him there it was better than him running into the box.

"I was wary of the fact he goes over as well. That is why you have to stay on your feet. To win the ball, you just have to go for it sometimes. It was one of those games where it came off for me."

The result continues a marked improvement from the Hammers on their travels. Prior to the win at Stoke, Sam Allardyce's team had lost five Premier League away games on the trot, including at Reading, Aston Villa and Sunderland, the major reason why they have found themselves flirting with relegation trouble.

Although they have lost at Chelsea since that triumph in the Potteries, with more dogged defensive displays, the Hammers have quickly regained their momentum.

"The gaffer got his tactics spot-on again," said Collins. "We do look more confident away from home."

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