Lamps At A Loss

Amongst all of the theories about the Hammers' recent run of disappointing results, young Frank Lampard admits: we don't understand it.

"It's difficult to put a finger on it: if there was an easy remedy then we would have done it a few weeks ago," he candidly concedes.

"I just think it's a case of just working hard and maybe just nicking a result.

"It is quite obvious that we are having a tough time of it, and we have lost confidence and form.

"The only thing we can do is stick together and work hard as a team which is what you have to do if you are going to dig yourself out of these problems."

Of the crowd reaction at the weekend following a fourth successive home defeat, he says:

"You're disappointed because at times like this you need to stick together, not only the players in the team but the crowd as well.

"But they've been fantastic this season, especially on their travels."

But he insists the players have the strength of purpose to bounce back and not get too downhearted, adding:

"We're working as hard as we can to put the whole thing right so we have to try and ignore it.

"If you let it get to you then the only thing you'll do is go downhill and not play so well if it affects you.

"So it's a case of having strong characters in the team who can rise above it.

"That's football; people sometimes get carried away with you when you are doing well and go overboard - and love to dig you out when you are not doing so well."

It is all, he says, about retaining a sense of perspective, and he stresses:

"You have to keep level headed as a player and not get too excited when the critics are digging you out, and also when they are telling you how good you are.

"It does get exaggerated but that's life, you just have to concentrate on your game and not get excited either way."

The Hammers travel for the first time in over a month this weekend, and he says:

"At the moment we are not playing as well as we can, but if we can get a result at Villa on saturday it will give us a bit more of a comfort zone, and maybe we can go on and win a few before the end of the season.

"This year we have definitely had our best performances away from home and our best results mainly.

"It's strange, and I couldn't tell you why, but recently we have let ourselves down at home, and the longer it goes on the more it is on your mind, and the more difficult it becomes to overcome."

So will an awayday be a blessing at the moment?

"It might be, the way the last two home games have gone we might be a bit more relaxed and get a bit more confidence going, and pass the ball like we have done away from home without so much pressure."

Is it worth mentioning relegation?

"I think you'd be naive to actually rule it out," he admits.

"We need a couple of wins to make sure we are safe.

"Until we get them you can never say we are not going to go down, but we feel as a team confident enough that, with seven games to go, we'll get the results to keep us up.

"The goals aren't coming and that's something we've got to put right as we do at the other end.

"We've had a chat this week and we are working hard - the main idea is that if we work hard in the week, hopefully that will give us a bit of luck on the saturday."

As usual in recent seasons, Aston Villa are not far from West Ham in the league and Frank says:

"For the last two or three years there's been nothing between the teams - we've won a couple and so have they, and there have been the draws and the cup battles.

"We have been neck and neck but unfortunately we are neck and neck at the wrong end."

Looking longer term, Frank says it is important that rebuilding work off the field is mirrored my investment in the team as well this summer, explaining:

"Every summer is important but obviously it's a well documented situation with Rio that there is money the club now have.

"I'm sure they will spend it; I think the fans expect it and we'll need to spend it to keep the squad strong, so that's what everyone will be looking to in the summer.

"Harry has said himself he would like to strengthen the squad.

"I still think we have improved over a few years ago, and you have to look at it on the upside - we have got good young players who we hope are going to get better and money that we can hopefully spend.

"We want to finish this season well and next season get back to the heights we have achieved in recent years."

He admits for the other two of the three midfield musketeers, the current predicament is something of a new situation for them, and says:

"It's early doors for Michael and Joe, and you have to take the rough with the smooth.

"I remember when Rio and I first got in the squad we lost to Wrexham in the cup and we learnt what it was about very early on.

"You have to do that as part of the learning curve."

* West Ham's reserve game at Southampton will now be played on wednesday 16th may at 1900 hrs.