Curbs: We all need to pull together now

Forget 2006 and start to look to the remainder of 2007. That's the message from Alan Curbishley following the dismal New Year's Day defeat at Reading.

"Let's be serious, this ain't the team that played last year so it's just a nonsense to carry on comparing the two seasons," said the Hammers boss after seeing his team succumb to their heaviest league defeat for over five years at the Madejski Stadium.

"Back then, there was a shape and a feeling about the side and everyone was on top of their game but that's not the case this time. Last season, West Ham came into the Premiership and everything was new and exciting. They jogged along and picked up results and if you look at our regular team last year, then it was equivalent to the Reading team that we saw today.

"There was lots of hunger and commitment to be in the Premiership and have everything that goes with it, such as the baby Bentley. We haven't got any of that now, though, and we're not playing with anything like the same confidence.

"Sure, they're still a good side and they've still got the ability but they still won't be Premiership players until they've done five or six seasons in this division.

"But they've got to show some of that ability because we've got to get results and turn this around. Manchester City, Sheffield United and Blackburn have put wins together and started to get themselves out of it, while Portsmouth did it last year, too.

"Today, it was probably the bubbliest and noisiest it's been in the dressing room before a game," continued the stunned Curbs, who endured a wretched New Year in the visitors' dug-out. "This was a big match for us because we knew that the teams above us could also pick up some points, but while it's okay having that confidence in the dressing room, you've still got to go out there and perform, too.

"You just can't afford to concede with the first set play and then fail to steady the ship because the Premiership's unforgiving and there's no let up. You must keep going for 90 minutes but we were fragile and no-one held their hands up in terms of trying to keep us in the game.

"I took a good look from the outside and saw the full picture before I took the job and a result like this has probably been on the cards. In fact, they've now shown me just why they're down at the bottom of the Premiership.

"We've only had six training sessions and five matches in the two-and-a-half weeks that I've been here, but when a new manager takes over it's the players who get the results for you because you have to rely on them to make the things that haven't been happening start to happen.

"Once we got to half-time, we obviously weren't going to turn it around against Reading and it was a question of not conceding any more goals, but we still went and let another one in straight after the break.

"That's possibly my worst-ever defeat as a manager and I'm very disappointed. I told Steve Coppell afterwards that Reading had everything that we didn't - enthusiasm, pace, shape, aggression and, above all, hunger. They knew that a result today would almost certainly keep them in the Premiership and they attacked the game in that way.

"You ask your players to dig in, do the right things and go out there and do what they do best," continued Curbs, urging the West Ham fans to help bring some much needed self-belief back to the Boleyn Ground. "Now this team has got to go back to Upton Park and play Brighton & Hove Albion and Fulham and they need all the help they can get.

"Today, the fans were singing right to the end and they certainly don't deserve this. In fact, the supporters have been constant throughout the season and they've been there for us home and away but we just haven't given them enough in return.

"We've got to do better than we did today and we've got to try to give everyone a lift in our next two home games. This is a young team that hasn't got the experience to sort things out for themselves so I need the fans to get behind the players and give them some confidence. Then, we'll be giving ourselves a chance.

"And when you're trying to attract players during the transfer window, it's also very difficult if you're in the bottom three but, hopefully, we might get the results during January to make that easier, too. Harry Redknapp certainly managed to do that at Portsmouth last season and he turned things around.

"If you support the Club, you support the Club and we're all in this together now. I'm certainly not going to be shying away from the situation but we've got a long haul ahead of us and we all need to pull together so that we can start instilling some belief into ourselves."