Trevor: It's Tricky

Trevor Brooking admits that he shares the fans' frustrations at the side's home form this season - and points to confidence as being the key factor.

Looking at the defeat by Everton, he says: "It was a bit of an anti-climax in the end, because after two great away victories we could have rounded off, psychologically, a wonderful eight days by getting through that barrier of a home victory.

"It was a pretty drab affair, but the one plus was that I thought we defended better than we have done in recent games.

"We had a spell where we struggled in the second half and then we got caught at the back post for the goal, and, although we created chances in the last 15 minutes, it was a little bit late.

"We might have got a draw out of it but it wasn't the sort of performance that was sufficient to get a win.

"With Fredi injured there are not a lot of attacking options to freshen things up, but you would have liked to have thought that the two away wins would have given us a little bit of momentum.

"Everton's midfield quartet are all hard working defensive midfielders who stop the opposition playing, and we got caught in possession a lot because of that and the blustery conditions.

"The frustration is that if we had won we would have gone level with them, but as they did, they have moved up to eighth.

"Two points from six home games says it all and I think it happens when you are getting a bit edgy and nervous as far as confidence goes."

Regarding Paolo Di Canio's lament that West Ham were playing the long ball too much on Sunday Trevor says: "If you are going to play a passing game it all starts at the back and naturally the defence has given some individually soft goals away in the first half a dozen matches which we have worked hard to rectify.

"I think against Sunderland and Fulham it has been tighter - and even against Everton.

"Part of that is that you can't bring it down and play too much - but if you tend to hurry and knock the ball clear it does tend to be too much of a long ball.

"If you haven't got Jermain up there you need a better service along the floor otherwise he is going to struggle against the big defenders.

"That is the area I am sure Paolo was pointing out and again it points back to confidence.

"It's just a Paolo comment coming from frustration but I think Glenn and everyone have been pleased at how he has come back since his injury - he has been involved in a lot of our creative play.

"With Leeds and Manchester United the next two home league games, on paper they are not the easiest, but then again, we thought we had easier ones before that and we lost them.

"So these might be the games to lift everyone and get the sort of result we are looking for."

As for Paolo's request to begin new contract negotiations this week, Trevor says: "Paolo is playing well and I think anyone will have to appreciate that at present, you couldn't really start looking at contracts in the situation we find ourselves.

"Hopefully if we can work hard, get up the table, improve the home results and the turn of the year looks a little bit healthier, then we can start looking at future plans.

"But at present we have got to focus on getting enough points to get away from the bottom half a dozen. Until that happens future contracts are all up in the air and everyone is in the same boat.

"I think Paolo has done very well. We know he is talented but he has been creative, he has worked very hard, his attitude has been excellent."

The next game is away of course and West Ham are looking to make it an amazing four consecutive Premiership wins on the road.

"When you are struggling confidence-wise, away from home you defend and counter attack," says Trevor, "and you are a little bit more confident about your passing and not making mistakes, because you are not going to get a groan when you make an error.

"It was only Liverpool that just about pipped us to having the best home record in the Premiership last season and the poor away form got sidelined a bit because the home form was so excellent - and that is where most of your fans see you play.

"This year it has been reversed but who could have predicted after that 2-2 draw with Arsenal - that should have been a victory - the next five home games would yield only one point and one goal?

"Players lose confidence and the fans get frustrated because they want to be entertained by their own side and it is a vicious circle at the moment.

"Liverpool haven't lost in the Premiership this season so perhaps they are due one, but psychologically the key is to pick up one or two wins at home; while nothing is happening at home you are going to be under pressure.

"When we went to Chelsea they were unbeaten and suddenly it was a good performance from us, so there is no reason the lads shouldn't go there on Saturday feeling they have got a chance.

"Liverpool have a big Champions' League game against Valencia on Wednesday night and I expect Gerard Houllier will make a few changes from then to Saturday - though he will be aware that we can be dangerous.

"We have to respond positively, feeling we have got a chance, and in most of the matches apart from the opening game the contests have been tight.

"The key is to continue not giving the soft goals away, and I think, touch wood, we are starting to do that.

"But the goalscoring has suffered, particularly at home. Everton was not an open game with chances being squandered - when I was sitting there watching it I always thought it would be a 1-0 or a 0-0.

"That is a worry and we have to start thinking how we get a bit more creative at home now - it is a freakish statistic that we have only scored three in six at home and two of them have been against Arsenal."

With the transfer window opening still some way away, there is no possibility of bringing in new talent to freshen things up until January and Trevor says: "Everyone is in that similar boat, and if you are one of the bottom sides and pick up an injury it is an issue.

"Fredi's injury has been a blow because he has got that physical presence of being able to hold the ball up in certain games - and we don't have an alternative to that.

"Titi came on and did okay in the last 10 minutes against Everton but he is not someone who can swap with Jermain, and if Jermain does play the ball up to him has got to be more thoughtful - so he is not fighting high balls.

"One or two of them did not show the best form that we would have hoped on Sunday so that is a shame.

"Other than the Arsenal game we have never been in front at home. When you do that the crowd really gets behind you but at the moment the confidence is fragile."