Les: Let's Push On

Les Ferdinand contributed to the first home league win of the season on his Upton Park debut this week - and admits he is incredulous it took so long with the talent now surrounding him since his move from Spurs.

"It is hard to believe, coming here, looking at this side, that Wednesday was the first home league game of the season that we have won - and it is important that we push on from there, " he says.

He was not involved in the defeat at Old Trafford on Sunday - not physically at least, though clearly emotionally with his new club - and he admits:

"It was very uncomfortable to watch, it was difficult, but we put a few things right from Old Trafford, and far be it from me to criticise the team.

"We know we got things wrong there, and the thing we did against Blackburn was work as a team; the boys showed great character and that is what we need right now, to stand up and be counted.

"The way things have been going for us in recent weeks that could have been hard, but we spoke after the Old Trafford game and we said we have got 14 games left to get out of it, so that win was pleasing for the players - and the supporters as well."

Les was pleased with his reception on his home debut - not bad for a confirmed Spurs fan - and he admits:

"You never know quite what you are going to get when you join a new team but as far as I am concerned Spurs is in the past.

"I have a mission here to try and help West Ham stay in the Premiership - and all I am concerned about is being a West Ham player.

"We have 13 games left and we have to do what we can to get ourselves out of this situation.

"People have questioned the team's character, which is natural when you are not winning, especially at home.

"But we have to take on the Blackburn performance to Sunday's game and hopefully it will give us confidence for that, playing once again in front of our home supporters who were fantastic again on Wednesday."

Les has spoken to the players who faced Liverpool last season and he adds:

"Liverpool is a tough game but last season here we did well against them so it is important we do that again this season as well."

As for hooking up with Paolo Di Canio for the first time from the start on Wednesday, he adds:

"It was his first game back and he was playing off adrenalin a little bit, but I think it is a combination that will work - he knows my style, I know his style, and hopefully we can continue."

He was, of course, substituted before Jermain Defoe came on midweek but the potential partnership of Les and J may yet be seen this season.

"Jermain is fantastic; it was really funny on Wednesday because there were some supporters on the side who were trying to get him on earlier, and saying 'you haven't given him enough time' - but what Jermain doesn't need is much time," says 'Sir' Les.

"Someone else might need 20 or 25 minutes to get into the game but he has got great feet, great awareness in the box, and he is one you want to bring on when you can.

"He scored a fantastic winning goal, he has got really lively feet, he is electric in the box - plus he is a great lad taking it all in his stride with a very good head on his shoulders.

"I think the manager wants to nurture him, and he has probably played him in more games than he wanted him to because of injuries - but he has taken it all in his stride, and he has got a really good head on his shoulders.

"Obviously, he needs someone to play off but once he has that, in and around the box, there are not many better finishers in the Premier League - just look at goals he has scored this season.

"For natural finishing, he is as good as Owen or Fowler, without a shadow of a doubt - up there with the best of them though obviously, he needs someone to play off."

With Jermain, Les himself, and fit-again Fredi Kanoute and Paolo Di Canio on board there is, at last, healthy rivalry for the forward spots, and Les adds:

"It has been time for everyone to have a long look at themselves but we have competition for places, which is healthy.

"The manager has got some decisions to make now, which I am sure he is pleased about, and that is the difference, hopefully - people will have to be on their toes or out, and having Fredi and Paolo back has given everyone a lift.

"The spirit was very good when I came into the squad but when I got into the Charlton game I could see where the problems lay - people weren't as confident in the game as they were in training."

But Les, who scored five goals in 17 games for England, has no regrets about moving into the relegation zone, and he insists:

"It is about playing football; that is my job, you have got to apply yourself as we did on Wednesday - and if we continue to do that I think we can get out of it.

"We have been very fortunate the way things have gone with teams around us not doing well midweek - but that will mean nothing if we don't go on from here."

A Spurs fan calling West Ham 'we' - now that is a conversion worthy of staying up...