Hammer Gabbidon: ‘We must overcome the fear factor’

West Ham defender Danny Gabbidon says that the Hammers must play with belief at Manchester City on Sunday.

It doesn’t matter how well you play, how much you keep your opponent at bay, if you’re a defender and your team lets in three goals, then you can only blame yourself.

West Ham defender Danny Gabbidon made his first start since limping off early during the victory at Blackpool back in December and despite keeping the likes of Didier Drogba and Florent Malouda at bay for much of Saturday’s clash at Stamford Bridge, the final scoreline of 3-0 was like a dagger to the Welshman’s heart.

“I can’t really take any pride from my performance as a defender as we lost 3-0, so I am disappointed,” said the 31-year-old whose West Ham career has been littered with injuries.

“It seems the same old story that we never take our chances. We play well and create and never get the result. We put in a lot of hard work and we had chances to score and when they had their chances, they took them.”

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One thing that certainly rankles with Gabbidon is the second Chelsea goal that settled matters on Saturday. The centre half was getting the better of Fernando Torres in the box, before the ball stopped in a puddle and the Spanish striker was able to turn first and plant the ball into the net.

“That was probably the bit of luck that Torres needed to get his first goal, the ball stopped in a puddle,” reflected the Wales international who is out of contract and expected to leave Upton Park in the summer.

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That won’t stop him from giving his all for the rest of the season and he believes that they can go to Manchester City this Sunday and put in a good performance.

“We need to believe in ourselves,” stressed Gabbidon, who is likely to be drafted in at left back at Eastlands this Sunday in the absence of Wayne Bridge.

“It is kind of tough at the moment because of the position that we are in, but we have to give everything that we have got. Manchester City are a good team, but we can’t be thinking of that, we need to go out there and try and get some points on the board.

“We can’t look at the last three games, we are looking at the next one and if we can win that it helps us a lot.

“Every game from now on is big. We are not writing off Man City and thinking about just the three after that because the more you lose, the harder the next games become,” said Gabbidon, who has made 107 appearances for the Hammers since signing from Cardiff City in 2005.

“We look to Man City and have to believe that we can go there and get some points and if we do it will be a great confidence boost for the team, which will set us up nicely for those last three games.”

Of course, the story of the season has been West Ham’s unpredictability, so it is difficult to guess whether the Hammers team that turns up in Manchester will be the one that battled so hard at Chelsea, or the one that succumbed so meekly at Bolton.

“The Bolton game we didn’t play well in any aspect of the game,” admitted the former Hammer of the Year.

“We didn’t work hard and didn’t create any chances and that is something that we worked on in the last week. Training has been really sharp and everyone has been on it. We saw that against Chelsea.

“We need to get back to working hard and when you do that things come with it, the chances, better defending – that showed. We worked much harder, there was more energy and we played as if there was nothing to lose.”

There is plenty to lose however, but Gabbidon is right, now is the time to play without any fear and to believe that you can do it – the trouble is it is all very well making soundbites off the pitch, it is what happens on it that will determine West Ham’s destiny.

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