James the first one to dismiss concerns

WEST HAM defender James Tomkins has dismissed concerns the Hammers are being sucked into the relegation whirlpool, writes BEN WELCH.. Saturday s 4-0 capitulation at home to the champions Manchester United has left the Hammers treading water above the drop

WEST HAM defender James Tomkins has dismissed concerns the Hammers are being sucked into the relegation whirlpool, writes BEN WELCH..

Saturday's 4-0 capitulation at home to the champions Manchester United has left the Hammers treading water above the drop zone.

Only four points separate Gianfranco Zola's side and rock bottom Portsmouth, but Tomkins has backed his team-mates to turn the corner.

"I don't think there's too much to worry about. We're a good team and we've got plenty of good players here and good characters to get us out of the trouble we're in," said the England under-21 international.

West Ham's brittle defence has shipped 30 goals in 15 Premier League contests this term, raising a lot of doubts over the rearguard's ability.

The likely return of inspirational captain and England defender Matthew Upson will give the Hammers a welcome boost.

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While Tomkins concedes the defensive performances have proved costly he is adamant there is no need for panic - the solution lies on the training ground.

"It's not as if we're not playing too well. We're letting in a lot of goals, which we're trying to work on," he said.

"The main thing is to look forward to the next game and keep working hard in training. They (Manchester United) get one chance and they score. It takes us a few maybe to score.

"But defensively it's little things that are costing us goals and we're not getting the rub of the green as well. I think it's a number of things."

There was no mercy from Sir Alex Ferguson's men at Upton Park on Saturday. The Hammers had defended resolutely until they yielded on the stroke of half-time.

Paul Scholes crashed the ball past Robert Green and after the interval the Red Devils administered further punishment with goals from Darron Gibson, Antonio Valencia and Wayne Rooney.

It was an unforgiving return to action for Tomkins following a spell in the treatment room.

"It was my first game back and I got a bit tired towards the end, but it was a game I think I was ready for," said the 20-year-old

"We've defended well first half and to go in one down at half time was hard to deal with to be honest.

"We came out positive in the second half, but you give them half a chance and they'll score. It's just the sign of a good team.

"Everyone's disappointed, but obviously we've got a big game next week away to Birmingham and it's something we need to pick ourselves up for quickly."

Alex McLeish's in-form Birmingham side will offer little respite on Saturday at St Andrew's.

The Blues have won 14 points from their six games and last tasted defeat on October 17 away to Arsenal.

"It's a big game, but we're going to go up there full of confidence and hopefully get the three points," said Tomkins

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