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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 December 2006, 14:33 GMT
Kevin Nolan column
Kevin Nolan and Alan Pardew

By Kevin Nolan
Bolton captain

Our 4-0 defeat of West Ham saw them react with the dismissal of manager Alan Pardew.

I feel very sorry for Alan. Last year West Ham were a good side and were possibly unlucky not to win the FA Cup.

That earned them a place in European football this season but people forget how easily and quickly things can turn in football.

Once you get on a bad run in the Premiership, it's very difficult to get out of it. Sooner or later I believe Alan would have got West Ham out of it.

But obviously the West Ham board wasn't happy with that and felt it was time for a change after recent results.

I couldn't see any signs that there were any players who weren't playing for Alan Pardew

The scoreline against the Hammers looked more comfortable than it was. West Ham caused us problems and I couldn't see any signs that there were any players who weren't playing for Alan.

There were one or two players who might have lacked a bit of confidence, whereas last season they might have been flying.

I would put the reason for the margin of victory more down to the fact that West Ham were feeling the effects of a midweek game.

It certainly happened to us recently when we went to Reading after a midweek game.

It's not nice when a manager gets the sack but that's the life of a football manager. I'm sure Alan will take his experiences from West Ham into another job and be a better manager for it.

Inevitably when a manager gets the sack, questions are asked about the responsibility of players.

A club appoints a manager to get the best out of the players and if the board feels he's not doing that, he's the one to go.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
Jose Mourinho recently appeared to make us the yardstick for Premiership success by pointing out that Chelsea had got a result at the Reebok, whereas Arsenal didn't

As I've already said, it's not easy to break a bad run. We recently went through a spell where we only won two out of eight games.

Perhaps it's where managers do earn their crust when it comes to getting the best out of players. I think Sam Allardyce certainly does at Bolton.

He's an honest man who will tell you if he doesn't think you're giving 100%. So you take it on the chin and you think that next time you get a chance you will give everything.

I certainly wouldn't write West Ham off at this stage of the season, and I don't think you could look at any team in the lower half of the table and say 'they are doomed'.

It's so important to stay in the Premiership and every team fights tooth and nail to do it, you won't find anyone who has given up the ghost at this stage of the season.

If five or six players sat around a table and discussed who was going to be relegated, you would get five or six different sets of answers.

If you look at the Premiership, you could probably accurately speculate which teams might struggle, and up until four years go, you could regularly have included Bolton among those who would be in the dog-fight at the bottom.

Newcastle have put a run together to move up the table and there's no reason why Watford or Charlton couldn't do the same.

We don't intend to lose another game at home this season

You certainly can't see Manchester United or Chelsea losing five games in a row and I think the title is between them now. United are eight points clear but you know Chelsea won't give it up.

It was interesting that Jose Mourinho recently appeared to make us the yardstick for Premiership success by pointing out that Chelsea had got a result at the Reebok, whereas Arsenal didn't.

I think it was more likely he was saying that we're a difficult team to get a result against at home, and I think that Jose, Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger and Rafa Benitez now have a respect for us.

We only lost three games at home all last season, but have already lost that number this season.

We don't intend to lose another game at home this season. That's a big ask, but we feel confident we can do it.

YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED

Hello Kev, which is the most memorable game you've ever played in?
Dale Brooks,
Bolton

There have been a few, but two that stand out are the Championship play-off final in 2001 when we beat Preston and the League Cup final in 2004. Although we lost 2-1 to Middlesbrough it was my first major final. We had those two victories against Manchester United at Old Trafford, which also stand out, but I'm hoping there are a few more memorable games to come.

Kevin, I was wondering how you find it being captain at such a young age and how you get the respect of the older, more experienced players. Also, who have you used as a mentor and based your captaincy on?
James Melling, Bolton

Most of the captains in the Premiership are getting younger, although I'm one of the youngest, which is a fantastic honour for me. When I was first given the captaincy I think I cried, but I don't have to get the respect of the players as such. They're a good bunch of lads who will listen, I don't rant and rave at them and sometimes they tell me where to go. I like a little argument now and again and I actually prefer it if people tell me what to do if they don't feel I'm pulling my weight.

For a mentor, I need look no further than Gary Speed. He played his 500th Premiership game last week, for which I'd like to congratulate him, and he's seen and done it all. I can go to him for advice on how to handle certain situations or how to approach things. John Terry and Steven Gerrard are both captains who lead by example and are the best at their jobs.

Which club in the Premiership has the best dressing rooms?
Sandy Cameron, Scotland

I think I'd have to say Chelsea, as they have just revamped their dressing-rooms and they are very modern, with lots of space. But if I was going to pick any club out, I would rather be in our own changing room every week. Just in case you're wondering whether I prefer a bath or shower after the game, I get little choice. We have to plunge ourselves in ice baths straight after every game, and then it's into the shower after that.

Why is Paul Scholes so highly rated among his fellow professionals. He's always included when players pick their Premiership XI?
Chris Thompson, Cornwall

It's what he brings to the Manchester United team. Without Paul Scholes, United are a different team, which says a lot for him. He's one of the best midfielders England has ever produced. It's not just about his goalscoring ability, it's the influence he has on the team. He's not a shouter or ranter, he just leads by example and even Roy Keane said Scholesey made him look good.

If you could sign any three players in the January transfer window, who would it be?
Oliver Wilde, London

No messing. John Terry, Steve Gerrard and Thierry Henry. If I'm allowed a fourth, I'd like to sign Darren Bent.

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