CARLTON COLE claims West Ham will carry on playing ugly as long as it takes them up.
Cole scored the opener in a scrappy game against Millwall after the home side had gone down to 10 men.
Hammers captain Kevin Nolan was handed a straight red for going in two-footed on Lions midfielder Jack Smith, leaving the leaders fighting on with a man down for 80 minutes.
The result was impressive, if not the game – barring Winston Reid’s spectacular volleyed winner following Liam Trotter’s equaliser.
And Cole admitted it may have been painful to watch.
He said: “I know sometimes our football is ugly, but as long as we tick off the wins I don’t care how the football goes.
“Hopefully we can win the title. We just have to stay in there and see how it goes.
“That’s why we’re top of the league because we can bounce back from situations like that and keep on plugging away, even in a tense atmosphere like it was today.”
Boss Sam Allardyce would love his side to start playing with the swagger fans demand – but admits they are under too much pressure.
He said: “There is a lot of pressure on us as you know because we are expected to go up and sometimes that can make players a little bit anxious.
“But when a performance like this is put together with a victory it should ease a lot of doubts and fears they have in their own ability.
“They should say ‘let’s flourish’ and ‘let’s blossom’ but it is not as easy as that.”
Referee Mick Jones drew attention to himself for first sending off Nolan in a challenge that most fans warranted as a red card, but Allardyce insisted was not.
He then failed to award Millwall a free-kick for Julien Faubert’s tackle on Lions keeper David Forde, which took him out of action as Reid volleyed the winner.
Allardyce will not appeal against the red card but admitted his side were lucky not to be penalised for Faubert’s tackle.
He said: “We were a bit fortunate for the earlier decision on the keeper but he still has to put it in the net and it was a quality finish.”
The result leaves the Lions one place off the drop zone but Trotter believes they have what it takes to stay up.
He said: “There is a lot to be positive about. West Ham only really looked to hit it to Cole and make it stick.
“We played the better football and I am confident we can kick on and push up the league soon.”