Nigel's Worry

Nigel Winterburn says that relegation is something the players have to be seriously concerned about.

He admits:

"I think we know that we haven't performed for a number of weeks now, and you just sit in the dressing room at the end of the game and try and work out why.

"As Harry says it is not the same team that was playing a few weeks ago, and I don't know why; if I did, I'd probably be the world's greatest manager - but I'm not.

"The only answer to it is to work even harder on the training pitch, which, to be fair, we have been apart from obviously the last week when everyone has been away, so it has been hard to do anything because 3/4 of the squad have been away.

"But we have to turn it around very quickly, because we mustn't hide from where we are in the league, and it's no good repeating 'we are going to be alright'.

"It soon creeps up on you; it will only take the teams below us to start winning a couple of games and then we'd be in big bother.

"We don't want to be hiding from that fact - we need to go out in the last seven games and show we are big enough to cope with that.

"Anything would turn it round at the moment, because as the old saying goes, a win does give players a lot of confidence.

"It is disappointing but it's the sort of thing we have to put right and get on with."

Nigel has no complaints about the crowd reaction at the end of the game, and adds:

"The fans have shown their disapproval which is probably the first time they have turned against us, but that was only in the last twenty minutes when they scored again.

"It's as frustrating for them as it is for us, but when you've got beaten 2-0 at home and you've lost the week before and the week before that in the quarter finals of the FA cup you expect some reaction.

"So you can't be surprised; the players who survive will rise above it and drive West Ham hopefully up the league."

Nigel thinks that on another day West Ham would have got something out of the game, and says:

"At the start of the second half we really pinned them back, and we had a good chance but didn't score.

"But then they broke away and scored after it looked like we might get back into the game; but it wasn't to be.

"I think the main thing is we have to stick together and if we do I'm sure we can pull some results out.

"You should never be scared of playing football because I believe it is an honour to do that - it's something you enjoy doing, even when it's disappointing like it is at the moment."

Perhaps surprisingly, it is not the first time he has been in this situation, despite his long association with the Gunners.

"I've been there with Arsenal alright, after we won the league.

"I'm not sure if it was after '89 or '91 but we were in 16th or 17th place and we needed to win a few games to get out of trouble, and we got two on the bounce.

"To me it doesn't make any difference - football is a game that you have to give your all in and if everyone does that we will turn it around.

"You have to try and keep calm, but obviously it is frustrating at the moment because we're not scoring goals and we're giving them away, so everyone is frustrated, which makes it difficult.

"We have some talented players and we have to start showing that's no good saying we are good on paper.

"The important thing is not to get sucked right down any more into it - just one win will do for a start."

* Stuart Pearce receives a three match ban because he got a straight red card on saturday.

that means his red yellow card is extraneous to that, and therefore another yellow card on saturday would lead to a further two match suspension, effectively ruling him out of all but one of the remaining games of the campaign.