Paul: Let's Pick It Up

Paul Goddard admits that the second half against Birmingham City when West Ham were last in action represented the low point of the season.

In that assessment, he even includes the 4-0 defeat at Newcastle and explains: "It was disappointing for a number of reasons; we just got off to a really awful start by giving them a goal in the first few minutes.

"We played quite well in the first half without being scintillating, got a goal back, and looked like we were going to take the game on.

"Then unfortunately we shot ourselves in the foot and gave them another goal right near the end of the first half - both goals were very disappointing.

"That really put the tin on the lid as such and we played very poorly in the second half.

"There was fear in our game and we didn't play anywhere near our full potential even though we had a couple of half chances, especially when Trevor Sinclair has a chance that he should have squared to Michael.

"I do feel it was the most disappointing performance of the season in that second half.

"In front of our own fans, and even at 2-1 down, we just never got going or had any tempo to our game.

"The crowd were restless, which is understandable, and that fear came in to play - we mustn't let that happen."

The big task for Paul and Glenn Roeder when the players return from international duty is to find out exactly why there is inconsistency in the team, and he admits: "When we spoke afterwards the lads couldn't put their finger on why they were like that - they just felt that the goals we are giving away at the moment are crucifying us.

"Both of them, with respect to Birmingham, were Sunday park goals and we must stop doing that.

"We have to carry on working hard at defending, which is what we are doing, and you are hoping that your better players stop making these defensive mistakes and get some consistency into their game; that will be a turning point to our season.

"It was only the week before that we were coming away from Chelsea applauding Tomas Repka and Gary Breen, saying how solid they looked and it just shows you how seven days can change football.

"We haven't won at home for five games and there is some edginess in our game - you can see that.

"It is totally the opposite to last year, and we must kick on and get out of that at home.

"The pressure builds up but that is what they are paid good money to get on and deal with - and we all accept that in this business pressure is part of the game.

"It is up to us to get on, sort ourselves out, and make sure we are okay."

One way that is likely to happen is the introduction of Ian Pearce to the side, and Glenn Roeder says: "Ian has been very patient waiting for a prolonged run in the side and he has been working very hard in training.

"Ian is doing everything he can to get a place in the side and don't be surprised if he achieves that for the game at Sunderland."