Time to 'turn it around'

Alan Curbishley is well aware his team still have plenty to play for as they prepare for a London derby away to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

Aside from the chance to move eleven points clear of eleventh place, Curbishley is determined to make inroads on the teams above. After coming up short against two Champions League contenders, the manager sees no reason why an upturn cannot begin at White Hart Lane. It was a year this week since the 4-3 home defeat by Spurs that proved the catalyst for a successful survival fight and once again the clubs meet with ten matches to play

"We have had two really tough games and we have got another one on Sunday," he said. "It is still there for us. People talk about run-ins and we had a great run-in last year. If we can do half as well as we did last year we will finish higher up than we are now." That said, the manager knows full well that actions speak louder than words. "We have got to get the results, we can't just talk about it," he added.

The players and management held a meeting in the dressing room after Wednesday's loss at Liverpool and Curbishley said there was a determination to "turn it around", adding: "The one thing that came out is that we are not oblivious to the fact we haven't scored a lot of goals and the people in front of the back five are the ones that have got to improve in that area. They are the ones charged with that responsibility."

To help on the attacking front, Curbishley is set to have Scott Parker back while Bobby Zamora will hope to start against his former club. Parker has not figured since picking up a knee injury on 29 December unrelated to the one he suffered in the summer. Lee Bowyer is also back in training while Matthew Upson is rated as 50-50 after coming off in midweek, with the manager hopeful. "We think it is more of a kick than a calf strain," Curbishley confirmed.

Tottenham manager Juande Ramos will make changes himself as the Carling Cup winners look ahead to Wednesday's trip to Eindhoven bidding to overturn a 1-0 deficit in their UEFA Cup last-16 tie against PSV. Gilberto (calf) and Jermaine Jenas (ankle) seem set to be on the sidelines after new injuries. "He could change it around again and take a look at his squad," Curbishley said. "He needs to do that anyway with the run-in. He needs to see what he is going to do in the summer.

"[Ramos] has done fantastically well," the manager added about his opposite number. "When someone comes in with his credentials as a foreign manager I don't think there is any complaint. He has a terrific record and has demonstrated that [in the way] he has turned the squad around. He has not bought anyone in really and just got on with it."

Turning back to his own team's fortunes, Curbishley said he understood fan frustration about a lack of goals but added that supporters were realistic enough to understand the club's situation. "You can't stop criticism and if West Ham fans are not happy they let everyone know. That has been the nature of it over the years ... I do hear the criticism, it is up to us to turn it around so the fans don't criticise. The only way we can do that is performances. No one has been instructed to be negative that's for sure."

As a boyhood fan and a former player, Curbishley is aware of the expectations placed upon the team and added the overriding belief among the players in terms of the supporters was that "we have let them down". He added: "Wherever you go there is West Ham fans - that is demonstrated by the amount of fans we take to away games. We have not won for a couple of games and they still turn out in their droves. We know the expectation level and I don't think any of us are under any illusions about that.

"If people are disappointed, they let you know here. There is nothing wrong in that. When they are happy they go for it. The realistic ones will say 'OK, well done but hold on let's do a bit better. I understand that." Curbishley added that he was focused on letting his players do their best in these final ten games. "They have done great and we have been saying 'this is the run-in and can we push on and finish as high up the table as we can?' No one is switched off or congratulating anybody. We have still got to finish as high as we can."