'Play like it's a final'

Valon Behrami has called on his West Ham United team-mates to push the tempo from the opening whistle in every match between now and the end of the season.

The Switzerland midfielder said the Hammers must go on the offensive for 90 minutes if they are to secure a Barclays Premier League victory against Birmingham City on Wednesday.


Aside from demanding 100 per cent effort from every single player, Behrami also called on the Boleyn Ground faithful to play their part in scoring a victory over Birmingham.

As they did at Turf Moor against Burnley on Saturday, the 24-year-old wants the club's supporters to sing their hearts out from first to last, creating an atmosphere that will make it impossible for the Blues to enjoy their evening in east London.

"I hope our supporters are going to give us a big help, because we need them at home to create pressure on the other team. We need that at the moment because we don't find a good atmosphere in the dressing room from Saturday's result, so we need to make it with the crowd pushing behind us.

"We are now in a very, very difficult position and we have to play Wednesday's game like a final.

"We have to play the whole 90 minutes, from the beginning until the end, like we did in the final minutes at Burnley. We need to treat every game like a final because the situation has started to get very dangerous."

Behrami also believes the desperation of Mido, Ilan and Benni McCarthy to prove their worth in a claret and blue shirt will give the squad a shot in the arm as the season approaches its conclusion.

"They are happy to be here and they are hungry, which is very important for them and for us. They are very good quality players and we need everyone feeling hungry like they do."

Speaking with typical passion and commitment, Behrami admitted West Ham had left themselves with a mountain to climb at the weekend. England striker David Nugent took advantage, putting the Clarets ahead on 14 minutes and when debutant Danny Fox curled in the hosts' second early in the second half, the mountain got even steeper.

Spurred by the introduction of debutants Mido and Ilan as well as lively winger Junior Stanislas, West Ham laid siege to Brian Jensen's goal in the closing stages. Stanislas hit the crossbar and Mido the post, meaning Gianfranco Zola's side had only the Brazilian's debut goal to show for their efforts, leaving Behrami wondering what might have been.

"I feel disappointed about the result and about the first 20 minutes, especially. In the first 20 minutes, we gave them an opportunity because we did not play with the right attitude or a good attitude. We started too late. We were one down and it's really difficult away when you are one down.

"In the second half, we found a good solution in our game and they just had one free-kick and they scored."