Valon: It’s down to us
VALON BEHRAMI expects no special favours from the West Ham crowd on Sunday when Arsenal pay a visit to Upton Park, writes KIRK BLOWS. The midfielder witnessed how Stoke s noisy support helped their team get the better of the Hammers at the Britannia Stadi
VALON BEHRAMI expects no special favours from the West Ham crowd on Sunday when Arsenal pay a visit to Upton Park, writes KIRK BLOWS.
The midfielder witnessed how Stoke's noisy support helped their team get the better of the Hammers at the Britannia Stadium last weekend.
But he insists it's very much the duty of the West Ham players to inspire the fans to perform at their peak - rather than the other way round.
Behrami said: "I think the team has to lift the crowd. If people see that every player is challenging for the ball and running hard, it's easier for them to get behind you.
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"But if the team is not giving 100 per cent, the crowd won't be happy and feel encouraged to give their support.
"So it's down to us - the players - to inspire the supporters."
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West Ham's home faithful have had little to cheer so far this season.
The Hammers have collected just one point - and that was thanks to a last-gasp leveller against 10-man Fulham - from three home league games.
Gianfranco Zola's side even needed extra time to see off League One outfit Millwall in the second round of the Carling Cup.
Yet Behrami insists that West Ham are capable of beating Arsenal at the weekend, despite the obvious qualities of their London rivals.
He said: "We know the game against Arsenal is going to be a tough one. But anything can happen in a big game like this.
"Arsenal are a great team and one of the best in Europe, but we believe in what we're doing and want to win the game."
Behrami made only his second league start of the season in the 2-1 defeat at Stoke.
And he could not hide his disappointment after the Hammers slumped to their sixth loss of the season in all competitions.
He said: "We're very disappointed with the result because, compared to how we played in the Fulham game, we did very well. We had plenty of the ball.
"We know that some of our performances this season haven't been great, but this was different. It was a very unlucky day for us."
West Ham did indeed enjoy the larger share of possession against Stoke but once again lacked a cutting edge.
And they paid dearly when Ricardo Fuller got the better of skipper Matthew Upson and forced Robert Green to parry into the path of James Beattie, who grabbed the winner.
Behrami said: "We challenged for every ball and the performance was good. But we made some mistakes and that's why we lost the game.
"Gianfranco came into the dressing room after the game and said: 'What can I say?' The fact is we played well and deserve to have more points."
The Switzerland international admits he is "worried" about the club's position, one off the foot of the table.
But he is adamant that the players have the positivity and self-belief needed to pull the team away from the relegation zone.
He said: "We have to be worried. If you have just five points from eight games, you have to be worried.
"It is a difficult time for us and we need more points, but we are working hard on improving the situation.
"If the performance is good you can see something positive. If the spirit of the team remains as it is and we continue to work hard, we should be okay.
"We have 30 league games remaining and have 90 points still to play for.
"But we must stay positive because if we don't believe in what we're doing it's going to be a long season for us.