Carlton Cole has called on West Ham United to get "ugly" to drag themselves off the bottom of the Premier League. The Hammers have collected only one win from 14 matches and are in a real battle to maintain their top-flight status.
Indeed, the Upton Park board have designated Saturday's home match against fellow strugglers Wigan Athletic as the "save our season game", with reduced admission prices to help ensure a bumper crowd.
Manager Avram Grant appears, for now at least, to have the support of owners David Gold and David Sullivan, with the Israeli insisting if his team continue to play good football, then the results will follow. Cole, though, believes the situation demands doing anything and everything to get maximum points.
"We have tried to play pretty football, but now I think we just need to play ugly football," the England striker said. "I see it working for other teams in the top half of the league."
Cole added: "We need to work harder, give 100 per cent in training and it starts there. If training is sharp, we will get into good habits and be sharp in matches. That is where everyone needs to ask more from themselves, because training is really important. We all need to get on that training field and the pace has got to be up."
Some beleaguered West Ham fans certainly let their frustrations be known at the final whistle of the last home game following another disappointing goalless draw against Blackpool, with calls for Grant, who only arrived in the summer, to be dismissed.
Cole accepts it is the players' responsibility to earn the supporters' praise. "If we are playing well, the fans will be on our side. If we're not playing well, we don't deserve the fans to be on our side. That's how it is," he said.
"The West Ham fans are passionate. They know what they want to see. We shouldn't be in the position we are in – everyone needs to pull in the same direction."
West Ham went down 3-0 at Liverpool last weekend, a performance which Cole slammed as "diabolical". The centre-forward, called up into the England squad against France because of injuries, was unhappy with the way he was deployed at Anfield, feeling a lack of support.
Cole said in the Newham Recorder: "I think I had just one cross, apart from that I had nothing and as a striker, that's starvation, that's famine – what am I supposed to work on? The game plan was for me to stay as the longest person away from everybody and try to hit me on the diagonal or something, but we weren't even doing that, so that went out of the window and we didn't have a plan B.
"When we changed to 4-4-2 in the second half, I felt more comfortable because someone was up there with me and I felt that we were starting to get on the ball a little more.
"But then I got taken off and I was like, 'okay, that's not what they want me to do. They would rather I stood up there on my own, trying to make nothing happen.'
Cole added: "I am not happy and I hope something can happen as soon as possible because we need to change this ASAP. Everyone is deflated and we feel we let ourselves down."
Off the pitch, West Ham have yet to announce who will replace assistant manager Zeljko Petrovic, after the Montenegrin left his position earlier this week.
Former striker and fans' favourite Paolo Di Canio has been linked with a return to his old club in a coaching role. Ex-Brentford manager Wally Downes, meanwhile, looks set to take up a position as West Ham's defence coach.
The 49-year-old, quoted in the London Evening Standard, said: "It is an honour to be asked to help out such a good club. I will do my best to help lift them out of the relegation area."
Downes worked under Steve Coppell during a succesful spell at Reading, and was also at Southampton with ex-West Ham manager Alan Pardew before the whole backroom staff departed in August.Reuse content