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POINTING THE WAY

Posted on 5 May 2006  - 12:00

Paul Stalteri believes having our points requirement so clearly defined has helped the team along in recent weeks.

Paul Stalteri believes having our points requirement so clearly defined has helped the team along in recent weeks.

The maths are currently very simple, we need a win on Sunday at West Ham to secure a fourth place finish in the Premiership standings. Two straight wins were the order of the day ahead of last weekend's win over Bolton and the team responded to the first hurdle in a hard-fought contest against the Trotters to create a platform for the final day of the season at Upton Park.

"We knew we needed two wins, but obviously you have to set your first one up for the second one," pondered Paul. "It was one of the most important wins of the year and we've kept it in our own hands for Sunday.

"I think it is always better to have it clear in your minds what you've got to do. We knew we had a tough schedule going into final games of the year and, if we can get a win on Sunday, it will make it fantastic season for us and if we can cap it with a good win it would be the highlight of the year, that's for sure."

And if it takes a not so glorious performance like last time out to bag the points, Paul will gladly accept it.

"Yeah - and we'll take win ugly in the next game as well, if that is what it takes. We are at the part of the season where the result is the only thing that counts. Pretty football, at the moment, counts for nothing. We knew before the game that playing Bolton would be really tough with the style they play, but in the second half we showed we can grind it out with anyone."

Meanwhile, as one of the older players in the group, the Canadian believes the younger element are coping just fine with the pressure of holding off the challenges to our position in the league.

"I'm not seeing any nerves and I feel the boys have handled the pressure fantastically. It is one thing to be in a situation where you are in fifth or sixth like Arsenal or Blackburn and trying to catch someone.

"Then you don't have any pressure. It is another thing to be in fourth position, where you can't catch third, but you are defending that position and there is everything to play for for the other teams. We've gone months in fourth and there is a lot of pressure in handling that, but the players up to now have done it almost perfectly.

"If we can sign off on Sunday with a win then we have done our job and to say we have been in fourth since December-time would be excellent for us."

Unfortunately, Paul has been ruled out of contention for the seasonal conclusion after sustaining a knee injury against Bolton.

"I hurt my knee in the last 15-20 minutes of the game against Bolton and it is a no-go for Sunday and I will have to miss out.

"I am disappointed about that because we have got our fair share of injuries at the moment. I still think, with the squad that we have and the players we can put in the pitch, that we can get the result we need."