'It's a big game for us'

Alan Curbishley has issued a rallying call to his West Ham United side as they welcome Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

The club are bidding for a sixth game unbeaten in all competitions and also know victory would move them ten points clear of their rivals from north London in the league standings. All concerned will also have the memory of last March's 4-3 defeat firmly in mind. Although a bitter blow, it was to actually prove the catalyst for a new beginning at the Boleyn Ground.

"It was a fantastic game," said Curbishley. "I know we were at the wrong end of the result but we went into that game rock bottom. We were on the ropes, if you like. We were leading 3-2 with a minute to go and we paid the price for pushing to go and win it.

"But it was the first time in a while that I was left thinking we had something there and taking the positives. It was a watershed and that turned it around. From there we went to Blackburn and got the first bit of luck we'd had in ages with Bobby Zamora's goal."  That crucial strike led to a 2-1 victory, the first of seven wins in the final nine games that ultimately secured top-flight football for this season.

This time around, it is Tottenham who find themselves at the wrong end of the table but Curbishley knows full well the visitors have plenty about them to reverse their disappointing start. "Tottenham have a really strong squad," he said. "They shouldn't be down where they are but they started to turn the corner lately. It's a big game for us and for our fans."

Juande Ramos is the man charged with leading the Spurs revival and Curbishley predicted the former Sevilla coach had what it takes to turn things around. "It's similar to Sven-Goran Eriksson, Jose Mourinho and Rafa Benitez who have come into the Premier League with that quality of experience, having won things in other leagues," he said. "They're not rookie managers and no one can have anything but high regard for them."

  • Check out WHUTV to see more from Alan Curbishley's pre-match press conference on WHUTV Exclusive as he also talks about last season's contest and Spurs manager Juande Ramos. There is also a special press conference with Matthew Etherington and Tony Gale's view, while you can relive all the highlights from that 4-3 defeat in March in the Premier Class channel.