West Ham United captain Nigel Reo-Coker says he is frustrated to be missing the vital Premiership games against Charlton Athletic and Tottenham Hotspur. Reo-Coker is suspended after collecting 10 bookings and will be forced to watch from the sidelines as the Hammers scrap for their Premiership lives.
Reo-Coker insists the struggling Hammers, who are five points away from safety, can haul themselves out of the drop zone - even if others have lost faith.
"There are still 33 points to play for and every game between now and the end of the season is a cup final. We have to go out there and get the points," he said. "We have two vital games coming up and I'm bitterly disappointed to be missing them. It's a really important period of time for us. But I'm sure the team are more than capable of coping.
"I think the atmosphere at the Charlton game will be like a cup final. It's a very big game, make no mistake."
Reo-Coker hit out at reports of discontent in the Hammers camp. "We just have to say to the fans: 'don't believe everything you read'," he said. "The papers are speculating and they want to write negative stuff. They want negativity to spread, not just around the dressing room, but out on to the terraces. That's not the case. The lads are trying very hard, it's been a difficult time for us and it still is a difficult time for us."
Adrian Boothroyd, manager at another struggling Premiership club, Watford, said yesterday he has adopted a more relaxed approach to keeping his team up. "After we lost to Bolton earlier this month, it made me think about whether I had put too much pressure on the players," he said. "If you are too intense, people will switch off. Being so intense and taking your work home with you can be a problem."