"It is crucial not just to keep Jermain but, if you have a good player in your football team, you have got to keep every good player," he says.
"To have a chance of doing something in the league you have got to keep all your good players."
He knows Glenn Roeder has had a tough time of it in the summer, as some high profile players left Upton Park, and adds: "If it was up to the gaffer I don't think anyone would have gone so you can't really look at him and say 'he is selling this, he is selling that' because it is not up to him at the end of the day."
He admits that losing those colleagues has been a blow, though, and adds: "I don't really want to talk about what has gone on; I am just getting on with it - that's football."
Rufus was booked towards the end of the Preston game and admits he doesn't know why:
"You will have to ask the referee that, I haven't a clue; he had nothing to say," he insists.
As for the reported interest in his services from Portsmouth, he says: "Again, I don't know - I am contracted to play two years for West Ham and that is what I am doing."
Looking back on Saturday, he adds: "Preston are a good footballing team, one of the few teams that actually try to play good football, and we had to match them.
"We knew it was going to be a battle and I thought we matched them in every department.
"And in Connolly we have actually got an out and out goalscorer; we have seen him in training and he is a scorer, as is Jermain.
"You have always got a chance when you have got goalscorers in your team.
"It was a hot day but I think it was important to keep the ball - we didn't manage to as well as we'd hoped to but it was the same for both teams and we were very pleased with the result.
"We are not the only team that wanted to get off to a good start and with everything that has gone on in the last few weeks it was very important to show the fans that we are up for it.
"Everyone played their part - and that was important."