West Ham chairman Eggert Magnusson has called on fans to get behind under-fire captain Nigel Reo-Coker.
The 22-year-old midfielder has been booed by a section of Hammers fans this season and his omission from today's team that won 3-0 against Brighton has prompted speculation that he is to be sold.
However, the club's Icelandic chairman has sent a clear signal that he wants Reo-Coker to stay.
Magnusson said: 'Today has been an important stepping stone as we look forward to the rest of the season.
'I hope that the fans will get behind the whole team including the captain who could play a vital role going forward.'
Hammers boss Alan Curbishley has also insisted his team selection against Brighton was purely him using a chance to look at players he had not yet seen in action.
Magnusson also paid tribute to the support from the fans during his first few weeks as chairman during which Alan Pardew was replaced as manager by Curbishley, and despite the 6-0 hammering at Reading on New Year's Day.
He added that there would be more signings during the transfer window to follow Luis Boa Morte's move from Fulham.
Magnusson said: 'I really appreciate the support we have had from the fans over recent weeks.
'It has not been an easy time but there's a great spirit at this club and we are working very hard to make improvements to the squad in the coming weeks.
'I think you could sum up the spirit here as really determined and focused on moving ahead as a club.'