Curbs - Pen miss was key

Hammers boss happy with another win over champions

Last updated: 2nd January 2008   Subscribe to RSS Feed

Curbs - Pen miss was key

Curbishley: Crowd got a lift

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Alan Curbishley felt Cristiano Ronaldo's penalty miss was the 'big turning point' in West Ham United's 2-1 win over Manchester United.

Ronaldo, who had put the champions ahead at Upton Park, fluffed the chance to make it 2-0 when firing wide from the spot after Jonathan Spector handballed.

The Hammers rallied and clinched the points after Anton Ferdinand and Matthew Upson headed home Mark Noble set-pieces.

It was a third consecutive win over the Red Devils for Curbishley and he admits Ronaldo's miss sparked his side back into life.

Up for it

"I enjoyed it when it ended because you know Man Utd can get back at you at any time and they put us under a bit of pressure in the last 10 minutes," Curbishley told Sky Sports.

"It was a strange game, I think. It never really lifted off and we found ourselves 1-0 down against the run of play.

"The penalty miss was the big turning point as it not only gave us a chance to get back in it, but it galvanised the crowd and the crowd got up for it."

West Ham deployed a five-man midfield and Curbishley was delighted with how his system worked, with Noble having replaced Dean Ashton in the starting line-up.

Aggressive

He added: "We were very aggressive about it and I changed the way we were going to play. I felt it was right.

"Dean Ashton has been playing in the last three or four games in 10 days and he needed a bit of a rest. I was hoping to introduce a fresh pair of legs to give us a lift and that is exactly what happened. He came on after the penalty miss and gave everybody a lift.

"Sometimes injuries dictate the way you are going to play. We had 16 fit players and that was the way it was."

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