LONDON, Dec 16 (Reuters) - West Ham United's new manager Alan Curbishley is convinced underfire captain Nigel Reo-Coker can play a major role in helping the Premier League club steer clear of relegation trouble.
Reo-Coker, unhappy over criticism he received following this week's sacking of Alan Pardew, feels he is being blamed for West Ham's poor form after failing to shine in midfield.
Everton are keen to sign the player when the transfer window opens in January, according to media reports. But Curbishley said he had no plans to change his skipper and wanted Reo-Coker to focus on Sunday's visit of leaders Manchester United.
'Nigel has looked at it, and there is a lot of criticism flying about at the moment from people who saw what the team did last year and are trying to find a reason behind this season's loss of form,' Curbishley told reporters.
'I'm sure Nigel's performances will show he is with us. He wants to put the record straight and sometimes you just need to go out on to the pitch and let your football do the talking. Perhaps that is the best advice for him.'
Curbishley is relishing the chance to spend big money when the window opens and is aware the club have been linked with Chelsea and England winger Shaun Wright-Phillips.
The former Charlton Athletic manager said he was having to prevent chairman Eggert Magnusson getting too carried away and wanting success too quickly.
'I know the club have been making enquiries and they have been big enquiries,' said Curbishley. 'But if you keep losing games it is more difficult to attract players.
'The one thing I have found from Eggert is that he is very pushy and wants to do things quickly. Maybe I will have to curb his enthusiasm a little because he wants this club to be successful.
'It is a completely different set of rules to the ones I faced at Charlton. I know spending money brings its problems when it doesn't work but I just feel this club have got the ability to push on.'
However, the most important issue for Curbishley is to haul third-from-bottom West Ham up the table.
'The only expectation I've told Eggert is that we stay in the Premiership,' he said.
'I feel with the young players we have got, we can then push on as a club.'