Michael's Verdict

Michael Carrick says he is paying no attention to a story that claimed he was set to leave Upton Park this summer, irrespective of whether West Ham go up or not this season.

"You've just got to laugh at that, it doesn't really mean much to me and you just have to get on with it," he says.

Michael played a huge part in West Ham's determined performance at Loftus Road on Saturday, in front of Sven-Goran Eriksson, and he adds:

"I gave my best on Saturday and that is all you can do.

"The gaffer said that Sven was here before the game and it is weird because we have got nearly a full English team so times have changed, I suppose.

"Was he looking at me? Time will tell!

"You've got to play in the Premier League to play for England so we will have to wait and see; it was okay for David James because he was already established, but to break into it you have to be playing in the Premier League against top players.

"Of course I want to be back in the squad again but now is not the time to think about it."

As for the game, he says:

"It was hard; I know they haven't been doing so well in the league but it is a tough place to come and play.

"They have got some top quality players and the pitch didn't help - it was shocking - but we are disappointed we didn't nick it.

"We have another chance though."

As for the incident when Matthew Etherington was through at the end but the referee, Graham Poll, did not give the advantage, Michael says:

"The ref made a mistake; I think he tried to say he was offside anyway but it was their man who played the ball; it is one of those things."

Of the match overall, he adds:

"Deano had a chance and I had a chance but the keeper made himself big; now we have to take them home.

"I know they hit the post but Stephen never really got worked too badly and it was a good contest.

"We gave a good account of ourselves and I think they will have been a bit disappointed about the way they played - they could probably have played better but we have stopped them playing.

"We are confident we can go for it in the replay; it is nice to be involved in cup games and there is no question about it getting in the way of the league - it doesn't."

As for the Norwich game on Saturday, Michael adds:

"We are looking forward to it, especially as we have won a few; there is a bit more belief and that game would set us up for a few weeks if we won it.

"We have had a lot of new players come in in the last six months so it is not a case of overnight success; now is a good time to come into form, though, and now we have to hold our nerve."

Alan Pardew is looking forward to the return against Fulham and says:

"They'll be loud for the replay and it would be great to get a result against a Premiership team.

"We were trying to win it; at half time, I told the players: Don't accept a draw.

"And with 10 minutes and then five minutes left, I told them not to sit back and settle for taking them back to Upton Park.

"We had some great chances and shaded it on that score; some of our players had outstanding games and Fulham's goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar did very well.

"My players have been out to prove every week that they're better than everyone else in the first division - we are setting standards and have to improve on them.

"I really believed we could come away with a victory and we certainly did everything we could to try and get in the next round.

"There is a nice spirit in the camp at the moment and they are all hungry to do well.

"There were a few areas of the pitch where we had the upper hand, and that is really important to me.

"Michael Carrick in particular had a superb game in front of Sven-Goran Eriksson - that performance would have done him no harm whatsoever.

"He missed a lot of the preseason through injury and when I first came to the club I expected a lot more from him.

"But he has certainly shown me in the last few weeks how good he really is and is among the best midfielders in the country.

"I have got six more players available to me next week and there will be some fierce competition for places, but it does give everyone a chance.

"It will be a great atmosphere for the replay and the fans for once will be turning up hoping we win, rather than expecting us to win, which will help us.

"But it would be great to get a victory against a Premiership side."