Vaz Te holds hands up after miss
West Ham forward Ricardo Vaz Te admits his glaring miss in the closing stages of Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Reading has left him feeling responsible for the loss.
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12. Ricardo Vaz Te
The 26-year-old was introduced from the bench by Hammers boss Sam Allardyce with 23 minutes remaining at the Madejski Stadium as the visitors chased an equaliser to Pavel Pogrebnyak's fifth-minute strike.
But Vaz Te, who was making his first appearance since dislocating a shoulder against Arsenal on October 6, will remember his comeback for all the wrong reasons after heading Matt Jarvis' cross wide of the post from just four yards out.
"I felt like I should have done better and I should have scored, there was no excuse for that," he told West Ham TV. "I'm just very disappointed with the result, especially after coming on and having a great chance to score.
"I'm just really disappointed I couldn't make it for the lads...I felt like I let everybody down and I'm just going to try to do better next time."
Allardyce saw defender James Collins gift Pogrebnyak the only goal of the game with a weak back-pass and bemoaned both the mistake from the Wales defender and Vaz Te's miss.
The 58-year-old said Vaz Te's late chance was one of the easiest in the history of the Barclays Premier League and the player agreed with him
"It was a great chance - the easiest chance I will ever have to score and I should have put it in the back of the net," said Vaz Te.
"I'm obviously very disappointed so I'm going to strive to do better next time. I'm going to keep work and keep improving and as my fitness picks up, I will surely do better."
Vaz Te's return to fitness comes at a time when West Ham are struggling with injuries but the Portuguese does not feel ready to play a full 90 minutes just yet.
"I'm not sure I am ready to start yet," he said. "I have only trained the past week and I didn't play any games before. I played for 20 minutes at Reading and it was quite hard, so I'm just going to keep training to get my fitness as quick as possible.
"I will do my best if the gaffer decides to put me on.
"Personally, I don't think I'm ready to start a game but if that's the gaffer's choice I will always do my best, like I said."
Reading's victory moves them to within five points of safety in the table and more people will now start taking Brian McDermott's claims that his side can avoid the drop more seriously.
The game may be quickly forgotten by many people but the Royals boss reckons he always felt it would be a big day for the club.
"I thought it was a really important game," he said. "I wouldn't have said that to anyone before the game but my gut feel was that it was very important to get a result. We've got that.
"I might never look it but I'm very pleased. We had to be very resilient today, as we have done in the last three games.
"We want to attack and go for games but we've realised what we need to do to get results in this league."
The win followed a goalless draw at home to Swansea on Boxing Day and a 1-0 defeat at champions Manchester City three days before.
McDermott has said his side now understand the division more and the return to fitness of key players has allowed him to play the style of football he wants.
"We've missed Jem Karacan for a lot of the season and we couldn't play a certain way because we didn't have Danny Guthrie either," he said.
"We were really struggling and Jimmy Kebe was also missing. We've had a real bit of bad luck.
"But what I like is that the fact that everyone - the 11 players, the subs, the entire squad - was in the dressing room after the game delighted.
"It's important for us, we've got everybody available again, it's been a good day for Reading Football Club."
The result means West Ham have now won just one of their last eight league fixtures and are only six points ahead of 18th-placed Southampton.