Fredi Focused

Fredi Kanoute insists that any thoughts of leaving the club are not on the agenda as far as he is concerned - and he is concentrating solely on keeping West Ham up.

With West Ham's status next season not assured, even if they win at Birmingham - a tall order against a side whose recent form has been amongst the best in the league - some are turning their attentions to who might be around next season in the worst case scenario.

But Fredi stresses: "I don't even think about that because everyone has shown their motivation for this club. I don't know anything about leaving and at the moment I am 100% focused on this club.

"We all want to save the club. I have spent a few years here and I can't let it go like this, knowing that I was in the team that went down.

"I don't want this and everyone who is on the pitch wants to save it."

The spirit of loyalty, he feels, is best epitomised by Hammer of the year Joe Cole, and Fredi adds: "He has always been here and he is a local boy. He has shown such motivation for this club and I know he would do anything to save it.

"He deserves it - and he has still got big things to do."

Fredi still retains hope that West Ham can produce the unexpected and stay up, and he insists: "I believe it. We haven't done all this for nothing and I think what we have done in the last few games has been for a good reason.

"After it happens it is always easy to say what went wrong. When we started the season we thought we could do something very good, better than last year.

"But it just proves nothing is in your hands until you play the games and get the points."

The win over Chelsea, he feels, personified the fighting spirit in the squad and he adds: "We fought last week, and did what we had to do to show ourselves and our public that we could do it.

"Everyone stuck together and it was something big. It wasn't that we knew we would win but we had such motivation that we knew we would do something."

Indeed, Fredi is relishing the prospect of going to Birmingham on Sunday.

"I feel good and I like it when there is a challenge - and in the last few games there has been a big, big challenge," he says.

"I have been out for a few months, and, while I don't want to go back to that again, it is always good to have a new challenge."

But will he be nervous beforehand?

"Everyone takes it differently," he reveals, "but I just like to concentrate a few minutes before the game.

"The challenge is so big that everyone has their own way of concentrating before the game - the main thing is what works for you."

As for why it has come to needing a win on the last day of the season and hoping Middlesbrough do the Hammers a favour, Fredi adds: "During the season maybe we waited too long before reacting. I am not saying we didn't want to play or something like this, but maybe we were waiting for something bad like this to react, and sometimes it is too late.

"Hopefully, though, it is not, and we feel in the dressing room and at the training ground that everybody is focused.

"We don't separate people. The week before I was substitute and last weekend it was Paolo - the week before I scored and on Saturday Paolo scored.

"It shows everybody wants to do something and put his ego aside - it is a team thing."

Paolo scoring against Chelsea showed his critics that he is not going to end the season quietly, and Fredi knows that he has been annoyed about some of the things written about him lately.

"It is normal. I am the first witness that some stories are entirely made up, and even though Paolo has a big character most of the time I know it is something made up," he explains.

"They are just taking advantage that he is a 'good' character or a 'bad' character, or saying he has a bad temper, to write stories on him, so I understand why he is a bit angry sometimes.

"In the last two weeks we have proved things on the pitch and that is the best answer to give."

But he emphasises the team ethic and adds: "I was talking with Don Hutchison before the Chelsea game and he said he doesn't care even if Jamo scores, that the important thing was to win."

As for playing 4-3-3 he adds: "I like it and the gaffer has done a good job because he had the courage to do it, playing with three strikers, knowing that the season is finished and we have to do something, double or quits."

And he appreciates the continuity Trevor has provided in taking over temporarily from Glenn Roeder.

"He is calm and it helps. So is Glenn, and I appreciate the two managers - they try to calm the situation down so that afterwards you can look clearer at things," he says.

"Sometimes when you have a manager who is always upset you don't even know what to do and you think he is never going to be happy with your performance, so it is never good for your confidence."

Fredi is delighted Glenn is recovering, albeit that he needs minor brain surgery soon, and adds: "I know Glenn is getting a bit better and I appreciate he is a good man who has helped me and the team even though he had a few criticisms.

"I can assure people he is a good man and I hope he is going to recover very quickly. This sort of thing doesn't just come on its own and must be created.

"I don't know if it is stress but being a manager is not a job I would like to do later!

"Everyone respects him. We have had a few arguments like in every team, which is normal - even Alex Ferguson has them - but at the end everybody respects him."