Tony: We Are Progressing

Tony Gale says that one defeat should not deflect from the fact that West Ham are improving as a squad.

"I think there is no doubt we are making progress; by the way we played for 80 minutes against Forest you could see that," he says.

"Carl Fletcher in midfield and Malky Mackay have certainly brought a competitive streak to the side which rubs off on the players around them.

"Chris Powell is still a very good left back who didn't look flustered on the ball on Sunday and no one looked like going past him when he was one on one.

"We have got to get it going and get right up there again but we are not far off the top and every team in this division, whether at the bottom or the top will suffer defeats like Sunday - it is about how you bounce back and I think Alan will be impressing that on the boys.

"If he needs to kick a few backsides he can make changes at Derby but I think he will look at it and say for 80 minutes we were a decent side and stick with what he has got.

"We are looking strong; sometimes you can look at this division and judge yourself by what sort of bench you have.

"We have got not only cover, but players that can threaten other players for their positions so if there is a little lapse in form someone else can come in."

Looking back on the Forest game, he admits:

"We can't afford to lose like that; I thought it was unbelievable because I was covering the game from the Sky studio and I thought the boys, who were cruising, were by far the better side.

"Forest weren't in the game until the last seven minutes but it shows you have got to be more professional and close the game out.

"You hit it in the corner and keep it penned up there, and if it means not playing open football I am afraid that is what you have to do.

"Unfortunately the game was still open when we were 1-0 up but the players realise that - and the manager realises that.

"It is a waste because they had done so well for over 80 minutes; you can't legislate for the strikes, which were good, but it is the fact that both shots should have been stopped in the first place.

"Stevie Lomas has just come on the pitch and it is a bit unfortunate that he dived in for the first goal which allowed Evans a bit of space but again, he will know that, an experienced player that he is.

"His rustiness made him dive in, unfortunately, but at 1-1 we were thinking we still have the chance to win this and we piled forward.

"Tomas Repka went on the overlap and left Malky one on one when Reid threaded the ball in and Malky, an experienced defender and a good signing, has let King cut inside.

"If he sees it time and time again he will think the last thing I want him to do is let him cut inside, but even then, the finish was superb so we were unfortunate in that respect.

"We put in 80 minutes against a decent side - they won't be down there for long - and chucked it away."