Upson plays captain's part

Matthew Upson was delighted to be able to skipper the team to a 2-1 success against Stoke City on Sunday and is looking forward to a bright new year.

The England defender - arguably the form player in his position in the country - was resolute again against a physical Stoke side who pushed West Ham United all the way on Sunday. He was wearing the captain's armband in the absence of injured Lucas Neill. "It is a great honour. I am happy to captain the team. Whenever needed, I will be there to support the team. It is nice to do the job."

Second-half goals from Carlton Cole and Diego Tristan turned things around after Abdoulaye Faye's early opener but Upson admitted a turning point was the sending off of Ricardo Fuller for violent conduct against team-mate Andy Griffin. "I think Stoke City probably did us a favour amongst themselves but the win has been coming and again I feel we deserved it."

It was the second time in two games that West Ham United had come from behind to win, something they had not managed at all this season until Boxing Day's 4-1 triumph at Portsmouth. "It was a welcome win," added the 29-year-old. "We battled away and got the three points in the end. Without a doubt it has shown the character in the team. We had to have belief that we were going to be successful after the first goal went in.

"We kept doing what we believed in, passed the ball, got a run of luck in the game which you need sometimes and took the points which is what we desperately needed. Now we can look forward. We have got some good fixtures ahead and hopefully more wins like we got against Stoke."