Paolo's Pride

Paolo Di Canio says he will consider appealing against the red card he received on Sunday at Stamford Bridge.

He insists that he was unlucky to receive it from referee Andy D'Urso, and that he even apologised to Jody Morris immediately after his expulsion.

Paolo also reveals that if his mind had been on a move he would not have reacted so passionately to the late, high challenge by Morris on him which went unpunished.

And he insists that he and his team mates will be back at Stamford Bridge determined to put things right after the 5-1 defeat at the weekend, promising that harsh lessons have been learnt.

Says Paolo:

"I was sent off because of a little reaction but a silly one; it wasn't very nasty or aggressive, and after the red card I said sorry.

"It was only a reaction of frustration; we were 3-0 down and five minutes earlier Trevor had left the pitch with his ankle open, and received six stitches, after a challenge from Melchiot.

"The second time Jody Morris came at me late with both legs, and for me it should have been a free kick, my leg remained between his and I reacted a little bit stupidly.

"It was only to say 'f*** off, leave me alone' but I also shook his hand because I didn't want to make damage to anybody.

"I said only that I didn't want to make damage to him and I say sorry to the supporters like a skipper; at 3-0 down you maybe aren't going to come back into this game but as a skipper you can't leave the field.

"But unfortunately this is the rules and this referee has a record because he has sent players off this year 10 times, and the average would be about three.

"He is the one that has given 10 red cards already this season so I was unlucky to meet him today, but I have to accept it and I hope they won't be tough because it was just a frustrated reaction, not a silly one."

As for contemplating an appeal against a ban which will begin in the FA Cup fourth round replay or against Bolton, he says:

"I would, but I don't know; I hope that they are going to do this and maybe I will speak to Glenn, we can see.

"I will play the next three games and I will be out for three games in a row if they don't cancel the suspension; I will keep my strength to make sure we finish in the top half this season."

Meanwhile, he says, it is business as usual, and he will be back to try and inspire cup glory on Saturday.

"The supporters deserve it," he says, "and when we return in the cup it will be completely different; we learnt the lessons today and we will return with more strength, more supporters, more power, and we will show we have more heart.

"We will show we have more energy and pride because they didn't see it from us today; but we have to go forward because we have a big chance to come back to the same ground and get big revenge against the same team, to give big satisfaction to our supporters.

"I never thought about Manchester United because I am a West Ham player; I never said I wanted to leave because if I did I would have signed two weeks ago.

"I feel a West Ham player, and if I felt any differently I would not have reacted today; if my brain was at a different club or a different ground I wouldn't have reacted and it wouldn't have mattered.

"I reacted because I was frustrated that we were losing and that one of my team mates had six stitches; if my mind was elsewhere I could have played softly and wouldn't have reacted."

Ironically, Paolo was asked just minutes earlier if he wanted to leave the field because of another hefty challenge on him, and he reveals:

"Five minutes before Glenn asked me if I wanted to go off because I felt pain in my ankle but I said no, because I wanted to take my responsibility on the pitch.

"I could have left the field, and then not got the red card, and then tomorrow thought about another club, but that wasn't the case."

He hopes to put the speculation behind him sooner rather than later, and reveals:

"I have received 100 letters in the last few days and that makes me more proud than anything because that means there is a true love which is more important than money.

"Lazio fans were asking me to come back to Lazio but I want to stay here because I love West Ham and the supporters.

"Tonight I was feeling sad; West Ham supporters are my people and I belong to them - it is a mutual relationship.

"Maybe the rumours can stop once and for all and I stay here, play and train."