'We have to put it behind us'

George McCartney insisted West Ham United's players will recover from their short bout of travel sickness in time for Monday's npower Championship trip to Brighton & Hove Albion.

The Hammers suffered their first away defeat of the season at Southampton on Tuesday, going down to a 1-0 reverse courtesy of Jos Hooiveld's first-half header.

The loss prevented Sam Allardyce's side from leap-frogging the Saints to go top of the table, leaving the No3 feeling that West Ham had missed out on a big opportunity to put some daylight between themselves and the chasing pack.

With that in mind, McCartney is targeting a happier night out on the south coast when he and his team-mates visit the American Express Community Stadium early next week.

"Games like Tuesday you have to win if you want to win the league. You have to try to pull away from other teams. The longer you hang around third, fourth or fifth place, the harder it gets because games run out.

"We have to put it behind us. We're all disappointed but we're all confident of finishing in first or second place come the end of the season.

"You try to go as long into the season not losing away from home or at home. We had good away form before Tuesday night so we'll get back on the training pitch and see where we went wrong.

"We have another tough game down at Brighton on Monday night and we have to improve, bounce back and get the three points down there.

"It's a long season and there are going to be ups and downs. It's about how you bounce back after a defeat and I'm sure everyone will be working hard on the training pitch to try and put things right and eradicate the mistakes."

While McCartney and his team-mates had been fantastic on the road in their previous five away fixtures, the left-back admitted they had not been at anywhere near their best at St Mary's.

The full-back turned in a typically committed performance against the leaders, defending resolutely and joining the attack down the left flank wherever possible. It was from one forward run that McCartney won a free-kick that so nearly turned into a late equaliser for Mark Noble, whose effort was tipped over by Kelvin Davis.

One defeat does not define a season, though, and the 30-year-old knows there is still plenty of time remaining for him and his colleagues to put things right.

"Obviously it was our first defeat away from home. All the lads were disappointed in the changing room because we could have played better in the first half. We played a bit better in the second half and came into the bit more and created some more chances, but it wasn't to be.

"We just couldn't get the goal to get us back into the game.

"They passed the ball well in the first half without creating too many chances, so to concede a goal right on half-time and especially from a set piece, was disappointing. We just lost a bit of concentration.

"In the second half we played a little bit better, but nowhere near as well as we can play. We created a few more chances, but the ball just wouldn't fall in their box to allow us to get the goal we needed."