Anton Hails Sunderland Point

AS Anton Ferdinand departed for duty with the England Under-21s he explained that the 1-1 draw at Sunderland had been an excellent result for Alan Pardew's men, given that it came just before a two-week break in Premier League action and against a newly promoted team.

"It was a great result," said the 20-year-old Academy graduate, who has started every Premiership game so far this season. "We need results like that sometimes, because you can't play well every week and we certainly were not at our best against Sunderland.

"The boys knew in the first-half that they were getting the better of us, and going behind right on half-time was a big blow. But we came out for the second-half, got more stuck into them and Yossi came up with a really nice goal to earn us a draw.

"To know that we didn't play well and still came away with a point gives us a lot of positives, because we know that next time we'll be doing everything we can to make sure we put in a better performance.

"Although it gives you a certain amount of confidence to know that we can not play well and still take a point off Sunderland, that's not the way we want to do things.

"Our aim is to play at our best and win games, so from that point of view we were disappointed with the performance at Sunderland. But it was a good point, and the best thing about it was that the lads were all still buzzing afterwards.

"The atmosphere around the squad is still great, there is real togetherness and now we'll be looking to up the performance levels again when we go to Manchester City for our next game."

There may have also been a psychological factor to the game at the Stadium of Light in that Hammers were determined to avoid defeat against a fellow newly-promoted team.

But, as Anton stressed, Pards' team aim to avoid defeat whoever they are playing in the Premier League, although he did concede that a point taken from a team who could be fighting for a similar position to West Ham United come the end of the season was vital.

"It could be a really important point come the end of the season," he admitted. "It wasn't that Sunderland are also one of the promoted sides, but they are a team that are fighting for the same overall aim as us, which is to stay in the Premiership this season.

"So to take a point off them at home could be really crucial. It could be the point that means we stay in the Premiership at the end of the season, or the point that earns us a place in the top ten.

"At the moment our goal remains survival, although we believe that we have a squad of players here who can achieve more than that.

"We just want to focus on keeping our performances at a high level, because if we can do that then we will pick up the points we need.

"There is a bit of a break now and it's important that we are going into that break off the back of a hard-earned point rather than a defeat.

"Now we can work hard in preparing for the next match and hopefully play better against Manchester City."