Saturday, 3 November 2007

Luis Confused

Luis Boa Morte's inability to establish a regular first team place at West Ham seems to have affected his memory. He yesterday described the club as one which is "always in the top eight" and can fight for Europe, months after they survived relegation on the last day of the Premier League season. The former Fulham captain also said West Ham are the bigger of the two teams and that was the main reason why he moved from west to east London in the last January transfer window.

Since his £5m move, Boa Morte has made 27 appearances at Upton Park with 12 of those as substitute. This season he has started only six out of 11 matches, scoring one goal. The 30-year-old admits his slow progress has caused unrest in his relationship with manager Alan Curbishley. "I don't want to be sitting around while West Ham play," Boa Morte said. "I respect the decisions the manager makes but that does not mean I have to be happy about it. I get frustrated sitting on the bench, I want to show the fans what I can do, that would make me feel better. I will work hard to get into the team."

But Boa Morte, who has started West Ham's last two matches - the league draw away to Portsmouth and the midweek Carling Cup win against Coventry, insists he has no regrets about moving to West Ham, having made more than 200 appearances for Fulham in seven years scoring 44 goals. The Portuguese said: "I had a good time at Fulham but I was at a stage in my life where I had to move on. West Ham is a bigger club, being here gives me a different challenge. Fulham were fighting all the time to stay in the Premier League but at West Ham it is different, this is a club that plays always in the top eight. We can definitely be in Europe." West Ham finished two points and one place above Fulham last season and are currently in 11th place.

The Hammers could climb to eight should they beat Bolton on Sunday afternoon but will to try and take three points without a host of injured players, including Dean Ashton, Craig Bellamy, Kieron Dyer, Scott Parker, Freddie Ljungberg and Bobby Zamora. Hayden Mullins and Anton Ferdinand picked up knocks in Tuesday's match at Highfield Road although the former is expected to be fit for the weekend.

Curbishley is refusing to use the absentees as an excuse for any slip-up against Gary Megson's side. He said: "We have just got to get on with it. Some of the players who are fit have had to play out of position and have been picking up results along the way, which is great credit to them." It is almost 12 months since Curbishley became manager at West Ham. He is certain he will not spend 15 years at the club as he did at Charlton and in Bolton's recent change of manager, sees a pattern which will be repeated again soon.

He said: "I had 15 years at Charlton and Iain Dowie [his successor] had 15 matches, Sam Allardyce had 10 years at Bolton, Sammy Lee had 10 matches, it's just the way it is going unfortunately, managers no longer have time to establish themselves at a club."

Curbishley has given his backing to a winter break in English football but admits it would be difficult to implement. "A break would do everyone good but how would you fit the games in?" He said. "We're already a match behind and can't fit it in because of Champions League and Carling Cup games during the week. If you took two weeks off in January, and then there was bad weather after that, the problem would get worse and we'd struggle to finish the season on time. One solution would be to start the season earlier."

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