'We have got to pick ourselves up'

Jack Collison admitted Wednesday's 5-1 Barclays Premier League defeat at Arsenal had taken the shine off his first goal in eight months.

The No10 fired West Ham United into a first-half lead at the Emirates Stadium, scoring the Hammers' first away goal since 25 November and his first since bagging a brace in the npower Championship Play-Off semi-final first-leg victory at Cardiff City last May.

Since then, Collison has endured a difficult period managing a long-standing knee problem that ruled him out of action from the Play-Off final until mid-December.

Therefore, scoring at the stadium where he made his West Ham debut on New Year's Day 2008 should have been a cause for joy. Unfortunately, Lukas Podolski's equaliser and four goals in ten minutes just after half-time put paid to Collison's hopes of celebrating a welcome victory in north London.

"It was very disappointing, especially after we had applied ourselves so well in the first half," the Wales international told West Ham TV. "It was ten minutes of madness that has cost us and obviously, against a team like Arsenal, you are going to get punished because they have got quality throughout.

"It's disappointing but we will pick ourselves up and go again at Fulham.

"The gaffer drummed into us all week that if we were organised, we would get our chances, which we did. As I said, it was just a disappointing ten minutes and against a team like Arsenal you are going to get punished, which we did.

"At the end of the day, that was not good enough from us. We know that. As a whole team, collectively and as individuals, we know we have got to defend better. Especially away from home, we have got to pick ourselves up."

While it was a night to for almost everyone of a claret and blue persuasion - not least the 2,800 vociferous travelling fans who made the trip to the Emirates - Collison was naturally pleased to have broken his duck for the season.

On scoring with a rasping left-foot half-volley, the 24-year-old ran to the away bench, where he embraced the club's head of sports science and sports medicine Andy Rolls.

"It's been a long hard road and it was nice to get the goal, but obviously it is disappointing that it meant nothing at the end of the day. The loss and the manner in which we lost have taken the shine off what could have been a great night.

"Rollsy knows me inside out now. He has been working with me for three years now and I've seen a bit more of him than I would have liked! Not just him but the whole medical team have been fantastic with me and got me back playing again, so I wanted to share it with them because it meant a lot and it's nice to repay them."

With a free weekend ahead after being knocked out of the FA Cup, West Ham will spend their time on the training pitch putting right what went horribly wrong at Arsenal.

The Hammers have a full week to prepare for next Wednesday's trip to Fulham - the club they would have hosted if they had reached the FA Cup fourth round - and Collison insisted he and his team-mates would be looking for an improvement in both performance and result at Craven Cottage.

"You can look at it both ways. We'll go away now and we've got a good chance to get some solid training in and work on the areas we've got to improve on. We'll be raring to go at Fulham so we'll look forward to that one."

One player who will not be involved at Fulham is left-back Dan Potts, who was stretchered off after suffering concussion at Arsenal. The teenager spent Wednesday night in hospital and is likely to be out of action for a few weeks, at least. Fellow Academy graduate Collison said the players naturally wish the No33 a quick return.

"Our thoughts are with Pottsy. He has been magnificent over the last few weeks and it's great to see him get his chance at somewhere like Arsenal. For someone so young, it's disappointing, so our thoughts are with him and we wish him a speedy recovery."