Anton Ferdinand has told WHUTV he and his West Ham United team-mates are determined to keep going for the final half-dozen games of the season to repay the fans for their support
As ever, a large and passionate travelling contingent made the long trip to the north-east on Saturday afternoon - with the 2-1 away reverse at Sunderland following hot on the heels of the creditable 1-1 draw at Everton the previous weekend. Having seen the side lose for the first time after going in front in a league game this campaign, Ferdinand said there was a desire to give something back. "The aim is to win as many as we can and give our fans who have supported us well all season a good end."
Similarly, the homegrown defender refused to make excuses for the defeat - despite the fact there was yet another change alongside him at centre-back with Jonathan Spector, 22, starting the game before 19-year-old James Tomkins arrived there for the closing stages as injuries took their toll. With both team-mates, Ferdinand, still only 23 himself, was the senior figure in the partnership - a situation that has been the case since England defender Matthew Upson's last outing on 5 March.
Having coped so well with Sunderland's late pressure, the weekend reverse was hard to take as until Andy Reid's late, late winner, it had been a resolute rearguard display. Indeed, Dean Ashton and Carlton Cole were only just denied by the post and Craig Gordon's heroics respectively in a free-flowing first half that had promised much when Freddie Ljungberg scored the early opener. "I thought we defended well. It was definitely a cruel way to end the game and lose but that is football.
"The boys played well and we should have come away with at least a point." When asked to elaborate on what went wrong after the great start was cancelled out by Kenwyne Jones. Ferdinand said: "We stopped doing what had got us the goal - passing the ball, switching the play a lot and just keeping possession. We stopped doing that and we had a bad five minutes after we scored and they got back into it. If we had gone into half-time one nil up then it would have been a different story.
"[The injuries] sums up the season but we have just got to get on with it," Ferdinand said. "We are professionals and that is what we have got to do. We can't blame injuries all the time. We just have to get on with it ... It doesn't help but we have to get back on the training pitch and make sure that we do work hard so that those people that do come off the bench know what's going on."