Fredi: Michael Will Be Stronger

Fredi Kanoute is backing Michael Carrick to come back stronger than ever after his stint on the substitutes' bench at White Hart Lane on Sunday.

Steve Lomas started his first full game of the season against Tottenham and is now fully recovered from the injury that upset his pre-season, which meant Michael was restricted to coming on just after Trevor Sinclair made it 2-2.

And Fredi believes he will be raring to go if he is reinstated to the starting line up against Manchester City at the weekend.

"I still think he is a very good player - there is no doubt about this," he insists.

"But maybe a game on the bench like he had will mean he will come back stronger.

"It is always like this - any player, when he is on the bench, becomes so frustrated that the next game is better."

Fredi hopes that, if he does play, Michael - and the rest of the team - get a good reception from the home fans on Saturday, and adds: "I think they still have to support us. I know sometimes they are a bit hard on us but they are half right because we haven't played very well at home, and they are a bit angry about that.

"But we have to believe, and they have to believe - and it is going to be alright.

"Usually at home we are unbeatable so that is a concern, but we have to be positive in our minds."

Paolo Di Canio has partnered Fredi in the last two games, leaving another young talent, Jermain Defoe, on the bench.

But Fredi insists he has no preference and adds: "I haven't any problem with either of them, it is the same for me. I know how they both play and I just have to adapt to them."

Fredi will be up against Paolo Wanchope, if he plays, on Saturday - the man he replaced up front at Upton Park more than two years ago.

But he says: "I don't even think about that, I don't care about it - I just want to win.

"We have to make ourselves happy and then our supporters because they deserve - and we deserve - better.

"It is a very bad situation. It is five games now, whereas two or three is alright - we always start, bad but never that bad, so now we are a bit worried.

"But we mustn't stop fighting even though it is hard - we still have to fight."

Of the Spurs game, which saw him score his second goal of the season to become the Hammers' leading scorer thus far, he says: "I feel bad. To be fair, it was a good game, as it always is against Spurs, but we made just a few mistakes as a team and they scored every time.

"We created more chances than them, but there it is.

"The only positive point is that we didn't play bad, and I don't think we did in the previous games either. It has just been a few mistakes that have cost us - and that is the point we have to work on.

"I needed the goal but when they scored on 88 minutes it was disappointing. It was a deflection and I think it is the only shot he will do for the season.

"It showed the bad luck we are having, but I don't really believe in luck - we have to be better than that and maybe we will be stronger."

Meanwhile, Ian Pearce will miss the trip to Chesterfield in the Worthington Cup second round on October 1 - his punishment of a one-match suspension following his dismissal at White Hart Lane for what was deemed a professional foul on Robbie Keane.