Robert Green is expecting West Ham United to get back to winning ways with next Saturday's trip to Middlesbrough.
The club's away form has been terrific this season - not least in the 1-0 victory at Blackburn Rovers a week ago - but things have not been so straightforward at the Boleyn Ground. Two losses to Everton in four days have checked the elation of victory at Ewood Park, for all the quality of the opposition and the commitment shown by Alan Curbishley's men in both the 2-1 midweek Carling Cup defeat and Saturday's 2-0 league loss.
"We have got to put it right," said Green. "It is two poor defeats. If the game was over two legs, we lost it 4-1 and it is really disappointing." The chance to make amends will come at Middlesbrough, another side who are in good form after victories against Arsenal and Derby County. "The game next Saturday is going to be pretty hard - they have had two great wins and they will be coming all guns blazing against us.
"We are going to need to do a job and it is probably not going to be pretty but it is a game where we have got to win and create a bit more daylight between us and the teams below and hopefully catch up with the people above." Indeed, victory at the Riverside would move the Hammers back into the top half of the table, at least for a day, and be much-needed with the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal on the horizon.
Everton are showing this season they are perhaps among the leading contenders to challenge those elite clubs, and Green said there was much that can be learned. "They make it hard for you and play to their strengths. They have got four key players up front who are very creative and good on the ball and once they get it to them, they play very well around that. The back four are solid - once they go a goal up it is so hard to score, to create chances."
There was little Green could do about either goal, with Yakubu's first just before half-time coming from close range and the second at the death from Andy Johnson arriving as the home side desperately pushed for an equaliser. "The first goal was obviously disappointing. It was a killer blow. It was an important time just to shut up shop and we didn't manage to do it and other than that, they didn't really have too many chances."
The No1 felt it would "have been a different story" had luck favoured the likes of Freddie Ljungberg and Dean Ashton in the first half after both went close. Towards the end of the game, Green was doing his bit to help get the ball forward as the hosts kept going - "trying to do a back four's job" - but added "that is one of the frustrations of playing in goal. Tthen again I wouldn't want to rely on my skills to get us back into the game."
From his vantage point, however, he could see the all-round effectiveness of Everton's approach and saw similarities in his team-mates' attacking play on the road this campaign. "It was a bit like watching us away from home, where we have gone 1-0 up in a lot of games and gone on to win most of them," he explained. Should the same tactics pay dividends this Saturday and the side take the lead at Middlesbrough, Green will be ready to play his part at the other end.