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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Mar 4, 2007

Under-fire Curbishley will punish absent Anton

West Ham manager Alan Curbishley confirmed he will be disciplining defender Anton Ferdinand after it was revealed he defied club orders and went to America to celebrate his 22nd birthday.

Curbishley had told his players they were not to leave the country during a four-day break between matches a fortnight ago.

But word reached Curbishley that Ferdinand had been seen partying at a bar in South Carolina and the England Under-21 international was forced to apologise.

Curbishley kept Ferdinand in his starting XI for today's 4-3 home defeat to Tottenham but the defender will still have to face the music.

'I didn't know about the Anton Ferdinand thing until yesterday,' said Curbishley. 'He played because I had picked the team and we had trained hard all week.

'I have spoken to him briefly. All the players were told they couldn't leave the country. He will be disciplined. I asked him yesterday if it was true and he said it was and apologised.

'But that is the least of our worries at the moment. Far more damaging was the result today. We dropped three points that were in our grasp.'

West Ham led 2-0 at half time with a strike from Mark Noble and Carlos Tevez's first goal for the club.

Tottenham hit back after the interval to equalise with a penalty from ex-Hammer Jermain Defoe and Teemu Tainio.

But West Ham thought the game was won when Bobby Zamora came off the bench to head them in front after 84 minutes - only for Spurs to hammer another nail in their relegation coffin.

Dimitar Berbatov curled in a late free-kick and then, as West Ham pushed for a fourth, Spurs hit them on the break and Paul Stalteri swept home the winner.

'We are going though every emotion,' Curbishley added. 'When you are this situation, where you haven't won for a long while and you get yourself into a winning position, perhaps you don't know how to close the game out.

'Naive is the word. It was a needless tackle (from Lee Bowyer on Aaron Lennon) that conceded the penalty. Spurs are having a great run and didn't need that lift.

'We then got ourselves 3-2 up with six minutes to go but can't see a game out, for the second time this season.

'It is down to a lack of confidence and mental toughness, knowing how to see a game out. A mid-table team would have won that.'

Questions are already being asked about Curbishley's future at the club but he added: 'I am not immune to anything. We all know what football is about. Nothing surprises me anymore in football.

'I don't fear anything, that is life.

'There was a chance today that if got three points we could close the gap on teams above us. We scored three goals and haven't taken anything. It is a massive disappointment. But we have got to keep going. We can't give up.'

Tottenham manager Martin Jol admitted he had a certain amount of sympathy for Curbishley and West Ham after a game which reared between 'heaven and hell'.

He said: 'I feel for them a bit. They need the points desperately and in the first half they were fighting for their lives. They are at the bottom of the table, they have to.'

Jol had some harsh words for his team at the interval and Spurs responded by scoring twice in 20 minutes.

'At half time we knew if we wanted to get back into the match we had to score twice and we did that,' Jol added.

'We were angry and disappointed. We had a few words at half time. We realise that if you score against them, they are insecure.

'Today it was heaven, hell, heaven, hell. It was an amazing game. Chelsea at home was probably our best win of the season but this comes close.'