West Ham players risk losing bonus - Curbs
West Ham boss Alan Curbishley admits he and his players could miss out on some decent bonuses if they fail to finish in the top half of the Premier League.
The Hammers are 10th in the table after suffering their fifth loss in seven games against Portsmouth at Upton Park last night.
It has been suggested that the team are coasting towards the end of the season but Curbishley insists that is not the case.
Curbishley said: 'Everything this year, especially bonuses, is geared to finishing in the top 10 - and there is nothing for not being in the top 10.
'So for people to believe we have switched off is wrong. We need to be in that top 10 to take anything from the season.
'That's me as well, it's everybody, we are all in it. And that's why it is so disappointing to come up with flat performances like the one against Portsmouth.
'We thought it was a winnable fixture with them just having reached the FA Cup final, but it was a flat night all round which just got flatter.
'We didn't lift the crowd and they didn't lift us. Now in the last five games we've got to win two or three or we won't stay in the top half and the season will just fizzle out.'
Curbishley - clearly reminded of the depressingly regular end-of-season burn-outs which occurred whilst he was in charge at Charlton - has been told by chairman Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson to trim the wage bill next season.
He has been hampered by a crippling injury list this season and that could affect his planning.
'We are in limbo in terms of assessing what we've got,' he said. 'I still haven't had return dates on when some players will be fit again, especially those with muscular injuries.'
When Eggert Magnusson was chairman, before being bought out by his billionaire Icelandic compatriot Gudmundsson, West Ham paid major fees for stars like Craig Bellamy, Freddie Ljungberg, Kieron Dyer, Matthew Upson and Luis Boa Morte.
Now Gudmundsson, also the owner of Icelandic bank Landsbanki, may be feeling the credit crunch and Curbishley was unable to strengthen his squad in the January transfer window.
Yet the club did recently appoint Gianluca Nani to assist Curbishley in the search for new players and team affairs, although the Italian does not officially start work until next season.
Meanwhile, Curbishley has seen two more fitness problems added to a catalogue which already includes Dyer, Bellamy, Ljungberg, Danny Gabbidon, James Collins, Lee Bowyer, Matty Etherington and Julian Faubert.
Skipper Lucas Neill damaged an ankle against Pompey but had to play through the closing minutes in pain after West Ham had used their permitted three substitutes.
He and midfielder Mark Noble, who missed the Portsmouth game with hamstring trouble, remain doubts for the trip to Bolton on Saturday but Upson could return after five games out.