Captain calls for unity

Matthew Upson has admitted West Ham United must go "back to basics" in their battle for Barclays Premier League survival.

The Hammers sit three points clear of the relegation zone following Tuesday's 3-1 home defeat by Wolverhampton Wanderers. Gianfranco Zola's side struggled for fluency against Mick McCarthy's men, while individual mistakes cost them dear at both ends of the pitch.

Now, having lost to fellow strugglers Bolton Wanderers and Wolves in their last two home matches, captain Upson has called on every player - including himself - in a claret and blue shirt to wake up to the situation before it is too late.

"I think we're in a position where, certainly at home in the last couple of games, we haven't delivered performances that were acceptable. At this stage of the season, looking at our league position, you could say we're close to that point [rock bottom] and perhaps we need to realise that point before we can make forward steps, especially at home.

"It's not a nice feeling but what we're going to do about it is what we need to be focusing on and there are enough games left for us to accumulate the points we need. We need to have a long, hard look and change something about what we're doing. It's up to us, the management and the players, to do something.

"It just looks like we've lost that ability to work as a team at the moment. Personally, I can't look at people and start pointing the finger in terms of not wanting to commit to it - it's just a case of, you can do run around and commit to all you want, but if you're not doing it as a team, it's not going to have the desired effect. I think we need to go back to basics on that front and realise what we've got to do tactically to get the three points."

Tuesday's defeat was marked by vocal protests from some home fans, and Upson conceded that the supporters were justified in their complaints, challenging his team-mates to turn those jeers to cheers when Stoke City visit the Boleyn Ground on Saturday.

"I understand it because the supporters are passionate and it works both ways. We are worshipped when it's going great and when it's not, your at the other end of the stick. That's part of the game and part of the pressure of playing for a club like West Ham. The expectation is high and, when it's not delivered, you get told about it. I like that, personally. I'd rather have that than play at a club where people are not too bothered.

"To me, that's an exciting part about playing for this club and I'd rather have that than not have it. Is it helpful? Probably not at this time, but it's a test of us as a team and if you can't deliver then you shouldn't play for West Ham."

While calling on his colleagues to rise to the occasion against the Potters, the skipper insisted that their efforts would be in vain unless they were channelled together in a purposeful manner. In short, teamwork will be a vital ingredient in West Ham's fight to beat the drop.

"I think I need to try to get us together a bit more, as a team. It's a difficult thing because that's not the sort of thing that lands in your lap one morning and it just arrives - it needs to be worked on. I think we need to work on that on the training pitch, and probably off it as well, and be more of a group. Hopefully, that will change our performance for Saturday.

"I can only think that, looking at the performances at home in the last two games, at the moment we've forgotten how to do that. That's the way I look at it. I don't think anyone has turned off or gone on holiday early or switched off. I just think we've lost that togetherness and tactical togetherness on the pitch that wins football matches."

"I think there is pressure, of course. At this stage of the season at a club that is as demanding as West Ham, the supporters and everyone around it demand a certain quality, and we haven't delivered that in the last two or three games. Yes, there is pressure, but if we are feeling it will be tested on Saturday. If it gets to us, then we're not going to survive it, so it's a big test for us as a group."