Curbs: A point to build on at the Cottage

He may only be 11 days into the job, but already Alan Curbishley is bringing the feel-good factor back to Upton Park.

A gallant goalless draw at Fulham doubled Hammers's away-day points tally this season and earned a precious second successive clean sheet, too, as the welcome wind of change continued to blow eastwards down the Thames.

"I think our performance deserved more than a draw but at least we've again got something to build on," insisted Curbs after seeing his side take another step towards safety at Craven Cottage.

"We've made a start. This season, the players have been asked questions that they haven't been asked before, such as: 'what do you do when you've lost four games on the spin?'

"The answer to that is you make sure that you don't lose the fifth! We've only been here for just over a week but already I'm really pleased with the spirit. You can't kid yourselves when you're where we are in the table but the players have responded, while the fans have been terrific, too. We've certainly started to give ourselves a chance with these last two results.

"Over the past few days, we've set our stall out, told them what we're about and what we expect from them and now we need to carry on stabilising the position before trying to push on up the table.

"All along, people have told me that this is an exciting, young West Ham United squad and while that's certainly the case when they're fit and playing well, so far this season a number of factors have meant that they've been too disjointed to get back to the side they were last year."

Certainly, with a crucial festive schedule already mapped out, the wonderful win over Manchester United allied to a determined draw at Fulham are significant strides along that long road to recovery.

"Do results breed confidence? Or does confidence breed results?" asks Curbs. "Either way, we really do need to get both of those things back into the West Ham side.

"When you're down at the bottom of the Premiership, you need to nick a three-pointer somewhere and although we were always going to come down to earth after beating Manchester United on Sunday, hopefully some of the other results will now start to go for us, too.

"I said to the team at half-time: 'You haven't been in this position - 0-0 away from home - for a while. We're still in this match and we've still got a chance to get three points.' I knew it would be a difficult game against Fulham and when you sit in the bottom three you appreciate just how well they've done. They're very under-rated. Perhaps we should've nicked a win but at least we've got two clean sheets now and I'm delighted with that.

"Goalscoring's still a problem, though, but with 24 league goals against us, we also had to stop conceding and try to win some games.

"Sure, I can understand the fans' frustration at the lack of goals because we've also got some exciting players on the bench but I thought Yossi Benayoun came on and did well, alongside Teddy Sheringham. I'm sure that if he'd scored, we'd have held on to win."

All in all it was another good day at the Cottage for Curbs, who hopes to have Danny Gabbidon available for the Boxing Day visit of Harry Redknapp's Portsmouth.

But having got one defender back to the verge of a first-team return, the Hammers' boss is facing the possibility of losing the red-carded Paul Konchesky to a one-match suspension following his controversial dismissal in the closing minutes of the intriguing derby.

"I'm disappointed that the game ended like that and we'll be checking out an appeal," revealed Curbs looking back on the one black spot of the afternoon. "Paul Konchesky came across and got his tackle in but while Wayne Routledge rode it and tried to nick the ball, he then lost control. In my opinion, it definitely wasn't a goal-scoring opportunity and I'm going to ask the referee to have another look at it."