Upson’s down, but still has confidence
West Ham skipper Matty Upson is fighting with his fitness, but still believes the team are capable of moving up the league table
STILL WARY of the press after the World Cup, both Robert Green and Matthew Upson have been unusually silent since South Africa, something that is perhaps not surprising.
But the West Ham captain chose to break ranks at last after Saturday’s home defeat by Newcastle and his message was a defiant one.
He blocked a question on England like Geoff Boycott at the crease, while any enquiries about his contract were put on hold, but apart from that, Upson was in as positive as you can be after limping off during a home defeat.
“We feel a win or even two wins is going to thrust us up into mid-table,” said the 31-year-old, who has now clocked up 119 appearances in claret and blue.
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“Mid-table is an area where we realistically see ourselves as a group of players, that we can maintain.
“Obviously we’ve let ourselves down, but we can’t dwell on it, we need to improve our performance.”
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Upson was forced off after 53 minutes on Saturday and while he was off, Newcastle grabbed the winner after a mistake by Manuel Da Costa.
“I’ve had a problem with my upper back for the last three weeks,” revealed the former Birmingham City man.
“It kept me out last Saturday and it’s imbalanced me a little bit. My hamstring tightened up against Newcastle.
“I felt it straight away and I knew if I had to explode or run quickly I may have torn it badly, so as a precaution I had to signal to come off.”
West Ham have now used six different players in central defence this season and Upson believes that is affecting the team.
“It is slightly frustrating,” he said. “A real successful back four is one that is consistently together.
“We haven’t been able to achieve that as much as we wanted, but we’re starting to get there with people being more readily available.”
So who does the skipper think should be playing alongside him? He’s not sure.
“That’s a big question,” he reflected. “It’s difficult because Danny Gabbidon has slipped across to left back and done an excellent job. Manuel Da Costa has stepped up to the plate and taken his chance well.
“We have Tal Ben Haim and James Tomkins sitting back there as well.”
Things are no clearer then, but Upson is convinced that things will come right in the end.
“We’re relatively early on in the season still,” he said. “I feel our squad has improved, we have more players that we feel can come in and do a good job.
“But we are not in a different position in the table and we need to change that and that will only happen by us going out there with a performance level and winning the points.”
Upson will be hoping to be a part of that, injury permitted, and if talking to the press means he is over the World Cup, then perhaps we can expect the defender back to his very best.