Captain's Blog - 'It's about us'

It's a good sign in the changing room when the lads are disappointed after coming back with a draw away from home against a very good Aston Villa side last weekend.

Those at the game will see that, after a few half-chances, Villa created early and going a goal up, we had more than had our fair share of chances to be up front ourselves in the first half.

In the second half, the domination and possession from us was very pleasing. Kieron Dyer came on and looked like he had been playing all season, Nobes was yet again outstanding and at the back young Tomka and Matty kept things nice and tight and made sure Villa had very little chances.

So, a very pleasing performance but at the same time, very frustrating, because if we had perhaps got a goal earlier, I am sure we would have gone on to win that game comfortably. But it was good to go there and bring back a point that perhaps some people thought we wouldn't get.

I am sure Villa would have given a lot of thanks to Brad Friedel for keeping them in the game on numerous occasions. Once again we had a great following up at Villa Park, it provided a great atmosphere and we thank all of you who made the trip up there to support us.

It brings us nicely into the match against Chelsea. We have been preparing well all week. I think Guus Hiddink has been quoted as saying that Chelsea will be coming here and perhaps being very selective with their team, having one eye on the Champions League game against Barcelona on Tuesday.

This may not necessarily help us, but as in any game, we can look to take advantage of these situations and use it to the best we can. It's important that we get off to a very good start on Saturday - I am sure the crowd will be right up for it.

For some reason, there is always quite a partisan crowd when it is West Ham versus Chelsea. We have got to make sure, like when we went to Stamford Bridge earlier in the season, that we are in the game for a very long period of time and take the performance from the last time we played them this season - it is the way we want to approach the game again this time.

That match back in December, we nearly went on and won it in the last few minutes. Coley had a chance late on, but we came away pleased with what we achieved that day still.

We are of course, now playing a Chelsea team under a new manager. The manager is someone I have a lot of respect for, one of the greats in the game and I learnt so much from him in a short space of time when he was my national manager for Australia.

The success we had as a national team in the World Cup was largely down to him. It's a very similar to what he is doing now at Chelsea. He has taken a talented bunch of players and got the best out of them, it was the same with Australia.

It's no surprise that they are in one final and in the semi-final of another. But Saturday is not about Guus, not about Chelsea, it is about us - West Ham.

We are, I think, six points off qualifying for Europe and sooner we get those points the better, so why not start that this weekend, with a victory over Chelsea.

It is going to take a big team effort and a big team performance. A draw would be a fantastic result, a win would be beyond people's expectations but wouldn't come as a surprise to any of the players or the manager here.

Off the pitch this week, saw the club's annual golf day event, the proceeds of which go to the club's chosen charities.

It was a great day organised by the club, with Tony Gale and Tony Cottee leading the way. A really good turn-out, we were lucky to have fantastic weather at Five Lakes Golf complex in Essex.

There were a few people being frowned upon the next day though, about their handicaps. One man in particular, naming no names - well, Steve Clarke - who managed to go round with a phenomenal score. Hence him now being given the nickname 'Bandito', for his very dubious handicap and points scored on the day.

But it was a fantastic day out and everyone was pleased. Yet again, it was another good way for the boys to get out and interact with the fans. The feedback was all positive, everyone seems to be enjoying the season and like everyone they want us to finish on a great note.

Before I finish, I would like to remind everyone that Saturday's game is to support and raise awareness and money for the Richard House children's hospice, one of the club's official charities.

The hospice does a lot of fantastic work for very ill children and young people, along with giving great support to their families and carers - giving them just that the little bit of quality in their lives which makes a huge difference.

So, please, help us to help them continue that work and show your support in any way you can. I am sure it is going to be a great atmosphere and it is a game we are all very much looking forward to. Lets hope that by 5pm on Saturday afternoon, we are watching other results coming in and eyeing up just what we have left to do for European qualification and that it is another step closer.

Thanks for all your support, it is as always, very valuable to us and is even more so as we count down the games, keep eye on other results and how the season is going to end for us. I am confident it can end on a high.

Lucas Neill signature

Lucas Neill