Rob: We Are Determined

Rob Lee says the players are determined to climb to the summit of the first division before Alan Pardew takes over - but he knows that a repeat of the Gillingham performance will not allow that to happen.

"Trevor and the boys want to give Alan Pardew a table-topping side when he comes in. It is much easier when you are at the top and people are playing catch-up with you," he says.

"It is much more difficult when you are trying to catch people up so the main thing we can do is that when Trevor leaves we are top of the table and we can all say we have done a decent job."

Rob has something of a head start on his colleagues at West Ham, as he worked with Alan Pardew when the pair played at the Valley, and he says: "I knew Alan when I was at Charlton and I am sure he will do very well for West Ham but as I say the main thing is, before he gets there, to be as near to the top of the table as we can.

"As I remember he used to moan at me a lot - so I don't think anything will change!

"He probably manages the same way he played. He is very methodical and used to get in the box late to score a lot of goals, if I remember rightly.

"He has done a fantastic job at Reading, no one can dispute that; he turned them round from a second division side to one that is on the verge of the Premiership so hopefully he will do very well for us."

In the meantime, of course, Trevor still has five more games in charge, and Rob adds: "I think the players have made it quite clear about what they feel for Trevor. They all love him, admire him, and have a great deal of respect for him, as the fans have.

"Maybe Saturday got rid of the myth that he can't be beaten and hopefully we will go on now and realise you are going to get games like that. Trevor wasn't happy and rightly so - we didn't play well.

"But I still couldn't see them scoring up to the silly free-kick, and if they hadn't scored the first they wouldn't have scored the second because we were pushing up.

"It was a strange game; we knew what to expect and tried to play the same way as them, and they are a lot better at it than us.

"We kept launching long balls and didn't pass it as we know we can so the service to the front was poor; they deservedly won the game.

"At half time we thought we were doing all right and Jermain and David were causing problems. Although they had a lot of possession they didn't cause too many problems.

"In the second half what we wanted to do was pass the ball as we know we can, and as we have been doing for the past few weeks.

"We kept playing long balls, though, and with all due respect to David and Jermain they are not going to win them. No disrespect to Rotherham and Gillingham but we shouldn't be getting beaten by teams like that - but we are.

"We seem to go to those sides and get dragged into playing the long ball as well, and we are not very good at it.

"It is very disappointing but hopefully it was just a blip; we have got to be able to play our way through it as well as competing."

As for Jermain's sending off, Rob says: "I don't think the referee and the linesman had a particularly good game - one linesman seemed particularly flag happy.

"I think the frustration got to him but the disappointing thing is we are going to lose him for games now - and we can't afford to do that.

"He wants to win games and he was getting frustrated. He knows he shouldn't have done what he did but he will learn - he is a fantastic talent.

"He reminds me so much of Ian Wright and if you take that fire away from him maybe he won't be the same player."

Rob draws some compensation from the fact that other sides around West Ham didn't necessarily exploit West Ham's defeat and he concludes: "It is a funny old league. There are some strange results, like Crewe beating Nottingham Forest on Saturday.

"We haven't lost too much ground and we are still up there."