Boro loss was spur for Upson

WEST HAM defender Matty Upson admitted that the disappointment of their FA Cup defeat at Middlesbrough last Wednesday night spurred them towards victory against Manchester City on Sunday at Upton Park, writes DAVE EVANS. A dismal performance at The Rivers

WEST HAM defender Matty Upson admitted that the disappointment of their FA Cup defeat at Middlesbrough last Wednesday night spurred them towards victory against Manchester City on Sunday at Upton Park, writes DAVE EVANS.

A dismal performance at The Riverside ended the Hammers' Wembley dreams, but the 29-year-old England centre back confirmed that the team had done a lot of work to rectify that display.

"The manager told us to keep believing in what we are doing after the game on Wednesday," said Upson, who has now played 66 games in claret and blue since his �6million move from Birmingham in January 2007.

"Against Boro we lost a bit of tactical formation. We weren't as solid in our shape, we didn't set-up properly and therefore we got picked off a bit easily and didn't perform.


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"But we analysed that and worked hard on that on Friday and Saturday, and we put it right today."

They did, just about. There were one or two nervous moments from the usually super cool Upson, and indeed it was his young partner James Tomkins who was perhaps the better of the two on the day.

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Upson was quick to praise the efforts of his19-year-old defensive partner: "He was very good against Manchester City," confirmed Upson, who has the experience of 13 England caps to his name.

"He's a young player, he needs experience, but he's getting that in playing these games and today he showed that he can play in a Premier League back four and hold his own and perform in the right way."

The pair had to be at their strongest against a tough City side, and it is indicative of the former Arsenal man's class that he has been booked just three times in all his time at West Ham.

"It was tough today, but I thought we coped with them well," said Upson. "I thought we had a good shape and coped with their style and we also created some half-decent chances and deserved the win in the end.

"It was a niggly type of game. There were a lot of loose balls in midfield, a lot of balls ricocheting and then 50/50 tackles.

"It was a good competitive game and very enjoyable," he insisted.

Manager Gianfranco Zola has gone on record to say that he is looking to secure his top players on long-term contracts and after Scott Parker signed on the dotted-line and with Rob Green and Lucas Neill both in talks - Upson is likely to be next in line.

However, he says that he has not been in contact with anyone about a new deal.

"I haven't heard a thing," he said. "I believe other players may have been in touch, so I maybe next on the list, who knows. When that moment comes we'll sit down and have a chat.

"I'm happy with the way things are going. I'm enjoying my football, so we'll see."

Hammers fans will be keen for him to sign a new deal sooner rather than later, as one of the favourites for this season's Hammer of the Year award is proving as essential as anyone in the West Ham line-up.

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