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Saints bite back after Rodgers dig

The Toe Poke
By ESPN Staff

Curbishley convinced of Hammers potential

New West Ham boss Alan Curbishley is convinced he has returned to a 'club going places'.

The former Charlton manager was unveiled as Alan Pardew's successor, taking charge of the club where he started his career as a trainee back in the early 1970s.

Curbishley inherits a side which ended the last campaign as FA Cup finalists, but now sit third bottom of the Premiership.

The 49-year-old sought plenty of advice from within the game on the prospect of stepping into the Upton Park hotseat - including his old friend Sir Alex Ferguson, whom he faces in his first match when they host Manchester United on Sunday.

Curbishley said: 'I spoke to a lot of people before taking this appointment, and they are all coming out with the same thing - this club can go places.

'I said to Sir Alex that West Ham were third from bottom. He then reminded me that 20 years ago, so were Manchester United when he took over.

'Sir Alex told me 'what you have got is an opportunity to go into a club and be successful'.'

Curbishley quipped: 'I was just seeking his advice on a couple of things - but it was not too serious because he was writing out his Christmas cards and wanted to get back to them.'

The new West Ham manager added: 'I spoke to a few people because it is not the situation which I envisaged going into a club, when things were in such a difficult position.

'But because it was this club, it changed my mind.'

Curbishley has called on his new side to recapture their 'hunger' of last season.

West Ham fought hard to return to the top flight under Pardew and then went on to finish ninth, reach the 2006 FA Cup final and qualify for Europe.

Curbishley has no intentions of letting all that industry go to waste.

He said: 'You cannot take the Premiership for granted.

'Teams like Watford and Sheffield United will take a defeat then come in on Monday morning looking forward to the next game because it is all new, all fresh - and everyone is aggressive about it.

'Last season West Ham had that newly-promoted hunger; they were galvanised by the fans, which they still are - and we have to recapture that.

'We have got to get it back quickly and start winning some games.'

The new Hammers boss, who has signed a three-and-a-half-year deal, added: 'It just seems the season has not got going, with injuries and the like.

'It is a young side who were on a crest of a wave last year, and everything just went from one week to the next with the results getting better.

'Those same young players are now being asked different questions, and we have got to find the answers.'