West Ham United captain Kevin Nolan said the squad were determined to bounce back from the 'bitter disappointment' of Saturday's 3-0 Barclays Premier League defeat at Sunderland.
The midfielder said sorry to the travelling Hammers fans for the under-par performance at the Stadium of Light. He insisted the team are determined to put things right, with a trip to face Manchester United on Wednesday in the FA Cup with Budweiser third round replay before London neighbours Queens Park Rangers visit the Boleyn Ground in the league next Saturday.
"We have had a good start to 2013, with the win against Norwich City on New Year's Day and a great performance which nearly saw us nearly neat Manchester United in the FA Cup last week, so the loss and display at Sunderland was a bitter blow to us, a big disappointment," admitted Nolan.
"Hats off to Sunderland, they played very well and we didn't. But it is about us getting back on it, straight away. What happened at Sunderland wasn't acceptable to us, not with the standards we have set ourselves this season. We have a game again on Wednesday and it is up to us to show improvement, get back to where we have been and we will be putting in hard shifts at the training ground this week to do this."
The Hammers skipper said he could not explain the manner of the defeat on Wearside.
"It was one of those days when for us, the eleven lads on the field were not on it. Sometimes it does happen. We just couldn't get hold of the ball, especially in the first half. It was a wonder goal [from Sebastian Larsson] and we should have made sure we stayed in the game coming out for the second half, yet let in a sloppy goal early on.
"There were some young lads out there who will have learned a lot from the game against a side that have established themselves in the Barclays Premier League, I still learn. I hate being 1-0 down, let alone 3-0, so we come together as a squad again and look also at what we have been doing well. That has got us where we are and the good position we are in.
"We hold our hands up and take this on the chin and put it to bed. We have a cup replay on Wednesday where we are going to give it a go and then come back to hopefully show the strong home form we have against Queens Park Rangers on Saturday, looking to be back in the form we know we should be.
"We focus on the game at Old Trafford and then on playing QPR, which will be another tough game. They have turned a bit of a corner and are giving it a go under Harry Redknapp. But apart from losing against Liverpool and Everton at home last month, we have showed great form at home this season and do feel we can beat anyone there, so we will be looking to carry that on."
Despite Saturday's setback, Nolan believes the recent influx of new signings and the returns from injury of a host of important players means the Hammers will soon be back to winning ways.
"I think if we can keep everyone as fit as we can and have a near-on full squad for the gaffer to pick from, then we can push on. When I came up with Newcastle [United] it was similar. As a newly-promoted side, you go through an up and down spell. What you have to do is keep it all on an even keel, keep it steady.
"When we made a strong start to the season, we knew we couldn't think too far ahead or get too carried away. On the other side of things, when you do hit a rough spot, it is about getting through it together and putting things right when you get them wrong.
"If you had offered us the position we are in at the start of the season, we would have taken it. But we want to be better than that of course. We all want to be playing and playing in the Premier League, so it is up to us to make it happen and I am confident we can do this and we will be where we want to be."
While Nolan says as long as the team win, it doesn't matter who scores, he is looking to get on the goal trail again and add to the five goals he has notched this season.
"It seems like a while since I scored. I got stick off the Sunderland fans about not being able to do my chicken dance celebration. I have certainly made them cry a few times when I have scored but let me tell you the chicken celebration is not certainly not dead, it is alive and kicking. Watch out, hopefully I will be doing it again soon!"