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Upson: Euro spot is still in our grasp

PUBLISHED: 17:10 15 April 2009 | UPDATED: 14:17 05 October 2010

Matthew Upson insists that West Ham remain favourites to win the race for European qualification - despite the club's derby defeat against Spurs

By JONATHAN CLEGG

Matthew Upson insists that West Ham remain favourites to win the race for European qualification - despite the club's derby defeat against Europa League rivals Spurs.

The Hammers have kept hold of seventh spot in the Premier League after the 1-0 loss at White Hart Lane, but Tottenham are now just three points behind following a run of five wins in the past seven league matches.

Harry Redknapp's in-form side have now been tipped to overhaul West Ham and clinch a Europa League berth, but England defender Upson denies that Spurs are the leading contenders in the battle for Europe.

The 30-year-old is adamant that the Hammers are capable of staying ahead of the chasing pack during the season's final six matches and ending the league campaign on a high.

He said: "I wouldn't say Spurs are favourites by any means. We're very depleted at the moment, we've got a lot of players out and Tottenham have a very healthy squad and some good players.

"But it's a sign of how far this squad has come that we gave a good account of ourselves on Saturday, tactically we played very well as a unit and even though we didn't have a lot of possession, Spurs didn't really break us down

"We're three points ahead and if you look at the fixtures, they've got some tough games in the next four matches so we're giving it everything we've got to finish in that seventh spot."

Upson is desperate to help the Hammers qualify for the revamped UEFA Cup competition because he believes it will establish West Ham as one of the country's leading clubs in future seasons.

And the centre-half also acknowledges that playing in Europe will help his international career under Three Lions boss Fabio Capello.

"The top six is a big target for this club and I think if we achieve that in the next season or two, it would give the club a good basis to push on," Upson said.

"It's something that as an individual, I need to be doing. I have personal aspirations that I want to achieve and the better standard my domestic football is, the greater chance that's got of helping me achieve those

"I'm desperate for the club to succeed and finish as high as it can. I want to play for England, so the better West Ham are playing, the more it helps me.

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