Captain's Blog - 'Everyone is upbeat'

It has been a difficult week for the club and for me personally picking up a stomach virus which has kept me out of our last two matches and having to lie in bed for three days watching and listening to the boys try and battle against two very good quality sides.

It has been a testing time for us as we have lost four games in a row but within the camp, we all feel that in three of those games, things could have been much different. There has been a lot of good communication within the squad and the management this week. We are still very focused and sticking to the game plan.

We trust the system and the style we are playing, we just need to execute those plans for the full 90 minutes. I think now it is about coming up with the first goal and as statistics will tell you this season, any time we have scored first, we have gone on to win the game.

It's important that we keep faith in each other and keep faith in the system and I firmly believe that the season will even itself out and we will go on to win four games in a row.

It's a strange feeling in training because the camp doesn't feel like one that has lost four games in a row. Everyone is still very much upbeat which is a positive thing for us, something our fans need to recognise and embrace and feel the same. There are still some exciting times to come here.

We have a great period of games coming up, a lot of tough competitive matches against some very good outfits. But I think you will agree with me that this seems to bring out the best in West Ham, when we take on the teams above and around us and I am confident that the same pattern will follow.

I am glad to say I am now free of my virus and looking forward to getting back involved with the team for our away game at Middlesbrough today. They had a fantastic result in the week, an upset in the majority of people's eyes but Gareth Southgate is a young, hungry manager who is slowly working his influence on an equally young Middlesbrough squad.

This is going to be a difficult game for us, they will try and use the fact that we have been on a bad run to their advantage, so we need to put everything into our performance to try and turn things around.

We are still going to stick to the system and footballing style that the manager wants to see, but obviously we have to be conscious that it is important to stop the run. If we have to take a little bit of the performance away to sacrifice the points, then so be it. But that doesn't mean we will revert to playing long balls and play the game at the other end, but we will make sure that we do whatever we have to do professionally, to get the job done this weekend.

Competition for places is good now and with so many games in a short period of time, it has allowed opportunities for other people to get game time. In particular, I thought Jack Collison did well when he came on against Manchester United on Wednesday. In training this week, Freddie Sears has looked extremely sharp and I am sure he is desperate to get some action on the pitch.

It was great to see Ginge [James Collins] back. Every time I see him on the pitch, it brings back great memories of our "great escape" and the last game of the season day at Old Trafford. He will be an invaluable member of the squad this season who will have a say on many the outcome of a game this year.

It is a long way to go today, so thank you in advance to those who have sacrificed their weekends to follow us. We will as always, be committed 100 per cent to get a result. This weekend more than ever, it is a game where we will be looking to get maximum points from and hopefully send the faithful on the long trip back home, happy.

Thank you to everyone's support last Sunday against Arsenal, it sounded like a great atmosphere that came across on the television. Also, thank you again to all those fans who dedicated time out to travel to Manchester on Wednesday, which can never be easy in the middle of a working week.

I urge all our supporters to keep the faith, there are still exciting times ahead here. We all still truly believe that we are in good hands and there is a lot of hard work being carried out on the training ground. I have absolutely no doubts in my mind at all, that things will come good for us, if we stick to what we are doing and when we get that win, there is no reason why we can't go on and win three and four in a row.

So, that's the goal, that's the aim and we are all working hard to try and achieve it.

Lucas Neill signature

Lucas Neill