West Ham's embattled manager Alan Pardew admitted time may be running out for his side to arrest their slump and save his job after Chesterfield - 15th in League One - dumped the Premiership club out of the Carling Cup at Saltergate last night.
At least the Hammers managed a goal after their extraordinary run of seven games without, but any notion of a confidence-boosting win over lower division opponents was knocked on the head as Chesterfield equalised Marlon Harewood's fourth-minute strike and conjured a winner with three minutes left to claim their second Premiership scalp of the competition after eliminating Manchester City in round two.
For now, Pardew remains in charge but after eight consecutive defeats he knows that could all change if West Ham lose at home to Blackburn in the Premiership on Sunday. The dire sequence, including defeat by Palermo in the Uefa Cup, has undone much of the good work he achieved by finishing ninth in the table last season.
"I'm not fearful about losing my job but I'm not immune," Pardew said. "A manager lives or dies by his results and at the moment I'm not getting them.
"We have been beaten fair and square here and that is not acceptable. I'm aghast at the way the fans turned out in numbers to support us here but the time is running out for them to stay patient with us.
"We need to come out fighting against Blackburn on Sunday and give them some reward for their support or they will turn on us.
"It is the worst time of my career as a manager but I will carry on fighting and trying to turn things around.
"There is no easy answer. Some of players have to look at themselves and ask why they are not performing up to the levels of last season.
"I wouldn't say that confidence has gone but there is a nervousness about the place. It may be that I will need to pull out one or two players and try to freshen things up but I will not make changes for change's sake.
"The main thing when we play on Sunday is that we need to play with the passion and energy that Chesterfield showed and add some quality to that as well.
"Tonight we lacked that quality, at least until Teddy Sheringham and Matt Etherington came on in the second half, and Chesterfield deserved their win."
Pardew fielded a full-strength side with the exception, notably, of the two South Americans, Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano, whose arrival at the club has coincided with the decline. He would not blame their presence for the slump, however. "That's not something I want to talk about at this moment," he said.
There were at least some sympathetic words from Chesterfield manager Roy McFarland. "As a fellow manager I know exactly what it is like to go through a spell like he is suffering and I feel for him," he said. "But he is a good manager and he can turn the situation around."
Eight-game losing streak
West Ham 0 Palermo 1
West Ham 0 Newcastle 2
Man City 2 West Ham 0
Palermo 3 West Ham 0
West Ham 0 Reading 1
Portsmouth 2 West Ham 0
Tottenham 1 West Ham 0
Chesterfield 2 West Ham 1Reuse content