Danny: We need to strike the first blow

Danny Gabbidon admits that conceding the opening goal has been the key factor in our recent run of poor results.

Hammers slipped to their fifth successive defeat against Reading on Sunday and, having seen Steve Coppell's men take the lead inside the first 90 seconds before shutting up shop for the next 88 minutes to hold their advantage, the Welsh international defender is clear about what it will take to turn our fortunes around.

"I think we played a little bit better against Reading than we have done in recent weeks, but the bottom line is that we lost again and that isn't good enough," says Danny. "We huffed and puffed a bit and, at the moment, it just isn't happening for us.

"The biggest problem is that we keep conceding the first goal in the match because, once that happens, it is always tough to turn it around, and we find ourselves chasing the game.

"When we do score first, I'm sure the confidence will rise and we will play better and win more games, but we've got to stop giving teams the upper hand, because they are just happy to sit back and defend their lead, especially at Upton Park.

"You've got to try and take some positives from the game, though, and I thought we worked hard and kept going for the entire 90 minutes. After their early goal, we settled down and had most of the game - I don't think they had another shot on target.

"We had some good chances on Sunday, but they were defending for their lives in the second half, and Yossi's chance right at the end summed it all up. The luck has got to change soon, though - hopefully in the next game."

Danny is also quick to shoot down any suggestions among the media that speculation surrounding a potential takeover at Upton Park is directly to blame for the slump in form, and insists that the players are 100% focused on rediscovering the level of performance that led to huge success last season.

"We know it is there but, as players, the speculation doesn't affect our performance," he says. "We are paid to play football and that is all we concentrate on - training Monday to Friday and then going out at the weekend trying to win football matches.

"Obviously at the moment we are not doing that and everyone is saying that it's because of the Club's situation or the arrival of the two Argentinean boys, but I don't believe that is true.

"If you are not playing, perhaps there is time to wonder about what might happen in the future but, for those out on the pitch, all that matters is playing football and trying to get the result we need.

"All we can do is keep working hard and hope that things begin to turn our way soon. If we can go to Portsmouth in our next game and get off to a good start with the opening goal, I am sure the situation will improve."