O'Brien confident hard work will pay-off

Joey O'Brien has backed his West Ham United team-mates to get back on track when they travel to Southampton on Sunday.

The Hammers suffered a 1-0 defeat to Stoke City before the international break, but with that now over the team return to Barclays Premier League action in front of the Sky cameras at St Mary's.

The defender insists that whilst the defeat to The Potters was a setback, the squad are more than ready to get going again.

He told West Ham TV: "The lads are itching to get that last performance out of the system and get back to how we normally play.

"We were very disappointed with the performance, it was probably the worst we've been at home since we got back into the league.

"The lads were disappointed but as I said we've had a few weeks off now where we've been training well and we're just looking forward to Southampton."

Prior to the side's first defeat of the season Sam Allardyce's team had picked up four points from two games, conceding no goals and looking relatively untroubled at the back.

O'Brien is hopeful that the team can rack up their third clean sheet of the season against a team they took four points off last season.

"It was a very hard game away to them last year when we did well to get a point so we know it's going to be a tough game.

"The solid defence comes from the whole mentality of the football team, from the defenders up to the forwards the boys work extremely hard and we haven't had very much pressure coming on us in the first three games.

"It would have been nice to get another clean sheet against Stoke but it wasn't to be, hopefully we can manage to get one on Sunday now."

The team will be without Andy Carroll after he picked up a new injury during training this week and whilst O'Brien concedes that it's a blow to the team, he believes it gives other players an opportunity to shine.

He said: "Andy's been out since the start of the season and the lads have done really well, it's a chance for anyone that comes into those forward positions.

"We've got a couple of injuries but we have a lot of quality football players at this football club, that's why the manager bought them here and as soon as they get a chance they've got to take it."

Young striker Elliot Lee has been in and around the first team this season, making his debut during the defeat to Stoke and O'Brien says Big Sam will have no issues playing any player at the club if they are good enough, regardless of age.

"When I was a kid at Bolton, Sam put me into the team, put Ricardo Vaz Te into the team, so if you're a young player at this football club you know the manager's going to give you a fair crack of the whip if you're up to scratch.

"Nowadays everyone's afraid of putting a young player into any situation.

"I remember when I started; my first games were playing in Europe, going to places like Bulgaria or Turkey playing teams like Besiktas so playing an 18-year-old in those games it doesn't bother him. If you're good enough he'll give you a chance."

Sunday's opponents Southampton have splashed the cash over the summer, bringing in several big-name foreign recruits as they look to build on a 14th place finish last season.

Given the quality the Saints have at their disposal O'Brien is anticipating a tough game, but he believes the Hammers can emerge victorious from their trip to the south coast.

"They've got some quality players and since their manager came in he's done really well with them.

"They pass the ball, work hard off it and they've got some really good players who they've produced through their academy so it'll be a really hard game."