Nolan keen to silence critics
Published 22/01/2014 | 13:32
Kevin Nolan has called for West Ham to prove their critics wrong and turn the momentum of their ailing season around to secure Premier League safety.
The Hammers have one win in nine matches in all competitions and exited the Capital One Cup on Tuesday night after a 3-0 home loss to Manchester City, who won the two-legged semi-final 9-0 on aggregate.
West Ham are 18th in the Premier League ahead of next week's trip to high-flying Chelsea and manager Sam Allardyce has targeted 22 points from the remaining 16 games for his side to retain their top-flight status.
"We've got one focus and that's just to stay in the Premier League," Hammers captain Nolan said on whufc.com.
"There are going to be so many battles now, from now until the end of the season.
"We're firmly up for it and we're looking forward to it. I'm relishing it and hoping to prove a lot of people wrong come May.
"There's lots of hard work to be done, from now until Chelsea, then on to the next game and until the end of the season. One thing we've got to do is stick together, keep that camaraderie going, keep the unity and togetherness.
"It's going to be a load of battles now and hopefully we'll enjoy it and win the war come the end of the season."
Allardyce hopes striker Andy Carroll, who made his first Hammers start since May against City by playing the opening 45 minutes, can prove the difference.
And Nolan, who played alongside the England striker at Newcastle, plans to do extra training with Carroll in a bid to get the Hammers firing.
"We came off on Tuesday and said we're going to have to start working on a bit of stuff on our own, after training, link-up play and things like that. Just to get that little chemistry back, the little bits and bobs and the sharpness around the box," Nolan said.
"Hopefully that's going to pay dividends in the coming weeks. Once we're in there, we'll start doing what we normally do and that's bagging goals. That's what we want to do.
"Our record speaks for itself in that respect, so hopefully, we'll get our chance and, when we do, we'll start taking them."
For all Manchester City's stars, their leading performer at Upton Park was 18-year-old Portuguese midfielder Marcos Lopes.
Lopes claimed two assists as Alvaro Negredo netted twice and Sergio Aguero was also on target in the victory.
"It was a great night for me and for all the team," Lopes told City TV.
"It's a different level, high-intensity 90 minutes, but it's good for me to learn with these players and play these games.
"I have to do my work and my job and hopefully I'll get more chances."
With Samir Nasri (knee) injured, Lopes could be given further opportunities to impress and may yet get to play at Wembley in the League Cup final on March 2.
He added: "It's a dream to be in Wembley. I'll keep working for that and I hope I can be there."
West Ham co-chairman David Gold has urged the club to regain their focus on Premier League survival after describing the defeat to City, and the 5-0 FA Cup third round loss at Nottingham Forest, as "a low point" for the Hammers.
"We are out of both cup competitions having been beaten 5-0 and 9-0. This is a low point in the history of our great club," he wrote on Twitter.
"We must re-group and prepare ourselves for a tough relegation battle, players are returning from injury and together we can survive."