Carlton Cole: West Ham 'needed my presence'

Carlton Cole came on as a half-time substitute in West Ham’s 2-2 draw with Stoke City.

The Hammers were two-goals down before second-half strikes from Enner Valencia and Stewart Downing extended their unbeaten run to four games.

After defeating Manchester City last weekend, only picking up a lone point could be considered a disappointment, although it was enough to keep them in the European qualification places, and remain on equal footing with London rivals Arsenal.

They failed to impress in the opening stages of the game, with leading scorer Diafra Sakho’s presence missed up front, but, with Irons veteran Carlton Cole entering the field at half-time, the club looked in much better shape and deserved to leave with a share of the spoils. He partnered Valencia in the attacking third, allowing Downing to drop to the tip of a diamond midfield, and the former Chelsea man took the focus away from his teammates - allowing them to exploit the space he created by throwing his weight around.

Speaking to the official West Ham website, 31-year-old Cole suggested that his introduction to the game gave the Stoke centre-backs - Ryan Shawcross and Marc Wilson - ‘a bit of entertaining’.

He said: "I think we knew we needed a bit of my presence up front in the second half," Cole began. "In the first half, Enner was trying his best but they have got two big boys at the back who needed a bit of entertaining!

"Enner got free in the second half and that's how he got his goal. Stewart Downing has got an assist and a goal too and I'm just glad to be part of it.

"I just ruffled a few feathers and created a melee in the box. Their keeper gripped me and I wasn't having that so I got them wound up and off their game a little bit.”

With Sakho still out of action, Cole could be in line to start his fourth game of the season next weekend against Aston Villa, with the Irons impressing most when using a striking partnership.

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