Les: Win Is A Must

Les Ferdinand insists that, just like the previous weekend, only a win will do - and he intends to play his part in getting it.

Les, who gashed a leg when colliding with Peter Schmeichel on Sunday, is included in the squad for the Chelsea game, along with the other doubtfuls Joe Cole [knee], Les Ferdinand [leg], Steve Lomas [ankle], Gary Breen [groin], Christian Dailly [back] and Don Hutchison [calf] who all face late fitness tests.

Ian Pearce is of course suspended and both Michael Carrick [stomach] and Lee Bowyer [ankle] are still out.

But Les is not one to shirk a challenge and the notion of being out with a 'twisted sock' - the French phrase for missing out when you are not badly injured - is anathema to him.

"We know what is in store and winning is the only option for us; we can't look at anything else, we can't think about anything else," says Les, hoping to pass that late fitness test to play against Chelsea.

He is expecting a more open game than the last home game, against Middlesbrough, when the Hammers squeezed home 1-0.

"Middlesbrough came to our place just to defend, they weren't really interested in winning the game, they just wanted to stop us, and that can become frustrating for the supporters, for the club, and ourselves," he admits.

"But I said this a few weeks ago, it is about keeping your nerve and a cool head."

Les expects a crescendo of noise against Chelsea, even if the atmosphere at the Middlesbrough game was a bit subdued.

"You understand the supporters' frustrations," he says "though, as far as I am concerned, the fans have been magnificent.

"No one wants to see their team go down, they have been coming to see us week in, week out, and we have not been performing to the proper standard - which is why we are in this predicament.

"But the only way we are going to get through this is everyone pulling together, and that includes the supporters as well."

He was particularly disappointed on behalf of the fans who went to Bolton only to witness a defeat against West Ham's closest rivals, and he adds:

"It is a crying shame when you take so many supporters such a long way and you don't end up getting a result for them - but sometimes that is football unfortunately."

As for the controversy about what might have happened after the Bolton game, and the reopening of discussion on that caused by Bolton boss Sam Allardyce, Les says it is an old scenario.

"It has always happened but unfortunately now there are so many cameras about people do find out.

"But we have to pick ourselves up, forget about that, and concentrate on the football; that is by the by, it is gone now and we deal with it when we have to.

"It was disappointing all the stuff that went on but we are all professionals and there is a job to do on the pitch.

"The only option for us is winning and we know, disappointed as we are to be where we are, that we are a good side.

"The task is not impossible and we have got to believe that it is possible - we have to just worry about ourselves and go out with the right attitude.

"It was in our hands up until the Bolton game, it is not in our hands any more, so we just have to try and win our games and hope the teams above us lose theirs.

"We are hoping we can win our last games and if we can do that I am pretty confident we can stay in this division."

Beating Chelsea would present a huge contribution in that respect, and Les concludes:

"We have only lost one game in the last nine so there is no need to be afraid; I think the team will use the expectation to their advantage."

SQUAD: James, van der Gouw, Bywater, Johnson, Repka, Winterburn, Dailly, Brevett, Byrne, Noble, Moncur, Cole, Kanoute, Breen, Cisse, Hutchison, Sinclair, Defoe, Ferdinand L., Lomas, Di Canio, Garcia.