Les: The Final Countdown

Paolo Di Canio coming on and scoring the winning goal couldn't have given greater delight to...the man who he replaced on Saturday.

Les Ferdinand, who played his part in the 1-0 win over Chelsea, helping to soften them up before Paolo applied the finishing touches, says:

"I don't think the script could have been written any other way; I have said all along we have got a squad of quality players and it was going to take every player in the squad to get us where we need to go.

"It was good to see Paolo come off the bench and get a goal on Saturday; he is a talented boy, and you just have to see from the reaction of the supporters what a fantastic four years he has had here."

"I remember standing in a corridor a few weeks ago and saying 'winning is the only option we have got now' - it is not in our hands now, but we have got one game to go and all we can do is win it.

"Perhaps if the game against Chelsea wasn't as big as it was I wouldn't have played but we need all hands to the pump and it was great to see Paolo come off the bench and score.

Les dismisses the mischievous notion that there are any problems between Paolo and any of the other players in the dressing room, and explains:

"I have only been here a short while but I have got on with him pretty well and enjoyed having him around the place.

"Papers have to sell so they make up all sorts of different things, but since I have been here I have not seen a rift with any of the other players.

"There has been a lot of talk about him and the manager, but that is by the by; all it is about is getting the results and I didn't see the papers on Saturday."

Les was astounded by the atmosphere the fans created on Saturday, despite the difficulty of the situation, and adds:

"Since I have been here the supporters have been absolutely fantastic - as they were on Saturday.

"It was always going to be about all of us, including the supporters, to get us out of this position, and they have played their part, without a shadow of a doubt."

And a comparison with Spurs supporters?

"It is a lot different; the supporters were good at Tottenham but I think they had a lot more to moan about."

After three 1-0 wins on the trot, Les concedes the nerves have been jangling for fans and players alike, but adds:

"We have been winning games but leaving it until the 70th or 80th minutes - and it doesn't matter if it comes in the 90th minute as long as we win the game.

"Sometimes everybody wants to win games two or three nil to save everyone's nerves."

"We have got one game left and all we can do to put us in the best position we possibly can is to win that last game."

He admits relegation would be a cruel blow and adds:

"It would be very harsh, and sometimes you don't always get what you want out of football and life - all we have to do is give of our best and hope that that is enough."

Of the trip to Birmingham, he adds:

"It will be a tough game for us and they won't be lying down and saying 'come on, you can have the points'.

"We have spoken about every game being a cup final and this is definitely the cup final."

And past memories of playing at St. Andrews?

"I have only played there in preseason games and it has gone okay, but it will have to be a happy hunting ground for us next week," he says.

As for the possibility of losing Premiership status, he concludes:

"It would be a travesty, but you only get what you deserve."