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Bad day at the office

PUBLISHED: 14:43 06 March 2008 | UPDATED: 13:04 05 October 2010

by BEN WELCH WEST Ham dedicated Saturday s game to charity, but Alan Curbishley will have been frustrated that the generosity extended to Chelsea s attack. Nevertheless, the Irons boss was philosophical about his side s crushing 4-0 defeat to Chelsea, say

by BEN WELCH

WEST Ham dedicated Saturday's game to charity, but Alan Curbishley will have been frustrated that the generosity extended to Chelsea's attack.

Nevertheless, the Irons boss was philosophical about his side's crushing 4-0 defeat to Chelsea, saying: "It's a really bad day for us and we feel dreadfully disappointed for us and the fans.

"But my players have done fantastically well this season. We have had major injury problems. I'm not going to criticise them."

Against the backdrop of the London derby the Hammers raised awareness for the Richard House children's hospice in Beckton, but a merciless Chelsea showed little heart.

In a ruthless opening 30 minutes the Blues raced into a three-goal lead, with a penalty from Frank Lampard and two lethal finishes from Joe Cole and Michael Ballack.

Former Hammer Lampard, who received his customary abuse from the Upton Park mob, was harshly red-carded for a push on Luis Boa Morte after 36 minutes.

Avram Grant's men remained untroubled, even after Lampard was dismissed, and after Carlton Cole had a shot cleared off the line by John Terry, Ashley Cole completed the rout with an acute finish 19 minutes into the second half.

This defeat will have severely dented West Ham's hopes of Uefa Cup football, as they head into tomorrow night's (Wednesday) clash with Liverpool at Anfield before preparing for another tough game at White Hart Lane against Tottenham on Sunday.

Hammers captain Lucas Neill, who was given a torrid afternoon by former Irons favourite Joe Cole, called on his team-mates to bounce back and keep the dream alive.

"Collectively, we've got to regroup. We've got to keep believing. Last year we won seven out of nine and it took us about seven or eight places up the table.

"But every time we don't pick up points we seem to be falling further and further behind."

The Australia skipper added: "The only half-positive thing is that the teams below us are losing as well. I still believe and we've got to keep believing we can get into Europe.

"This is still a massive month and anything we had got out of the Chelsea game would have been a bonus. Now, our confidence will be dented but we have to bounce back."

After losing the Carling Cup final to Tottenham, Chelsea were out to prove their title credentials and they did in unforgiving fashion.

A ruthless first half performance left West Ham dazed and confused as they struggled to recover from three haymakers administered by the heavyweight Blues.

Neill cursed the home side's sluggish start.

"We're going to hurt like crazy for the next couple of days and the best thing we can do is to get back on to the pitch and try and rectify the situation.

"The most disappointing thing is that we've been beaten 4-0 but the scoreline probably doesn't reflect the game.

"But that's what happens when you give chances to the top sides. Now we've got to show good character - there's nothing more we can do," said the defender.

Saturday's win at Upton Park put Chelsea within seven points of leaders Arsenal. The Irons remain in 10th, eight points behind Aston Villa in sixth place.

European football may now be a pipe dream for the East End club, but life in mid-table is a vast improvement on last season's emotional rollercoaster. This time last year West Ham were rock bottom of the Premier League and staring down the precipice.

l West Ham were due to take on Liverpool at Anfield last night.


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