Mervyn full of pride after Arsenal victory

Like every Hammer at the Emirates on Saturday, Mervyn Day found the excitement and tension of holding on to claim a 1-0 win against Arsenal almost too much to bear.

"Games like that you just can't describe," he said. "On the sideline, you are kicking and heading every ball, and it was very stressful towards the end - I'm sure the fans felt exactly the same way.

"We had a bit of luck, of course, while Arsenal had one of those days where it just wouldn't go for them. Having said that, I thought we defended magnificently and Rob Green probably earned a mark of 25 out of 10!

"Every one of them all worked their socks off, though - all 14 who got on the pitch - and we're very proud of them."

Merv admitted the Hammers' early tactics may have been a little audacious, but a fine defensive display allowed them to settle into their game.

"To be fair, we were probably a little bit too brave in our game plan to start with," he said. "We went with a 4-4-2, keeping two players up top, and thought we'd have a bit of a go, but unfortunately Arsenal came out of the traps very, very quickly.

"They surprised us slightly by playing Ljungberg sitting up behind Adebayor and, with Hleb and Rosicky running from deep, their movement was absolutely fantastic. It stunned us a little, so we switched to a 4-5-1, with Mark Noble sitting in front of the back four to track any runners from midfield, and after getting through that difficult early period, we began to settle down.

"Without playing any real fluid football, we did manage to hit them on the break a couple of times, and then scored at the perfect time - 10 seconds before half-time. Things then took on a bit of a different complexion, because we were now defending a lead.

"When you are playing Arsenal, you can get hurt badly if you approach things too negatively. We didn't want to sit back and drop off too deep, so we tried to stay calm and keep the ball as much as we could.

"I think they got frustrated towards the end and began to hit long, high balls, which in some ways suited us. Rob Green came for everything he needed to, and we also got heads and bodies in the way of many of their attacks."

Merv insists the Hammers will be looking for more inspirational displays from the goalkeeper in the coming weeks.

"Rob has got to bottle that, because that's the kind of level we need from him in the next six games," he said. "If he can play as well as that, and we can defend as well as that generally, who knows where we might be.

"We've given ourselves a base, though. Three games ago, we were nine points off the fourth-from-bottom team - now we're only two. We've got Sheffield United to play, Wigan to play, and so we are now almost back in control of our own destiny.

"It's all very well having won the last three games, but it will count for nothing if we go up to Sheffield and put in a poor performance. We've got to enjoy this victory, but it's a base, nothing more.

"We've got six more cup finals and, if we can win the majority of those, we've got a very good chance of staying up."