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Curbs bemoans lack of quality

Filed: Saturday, 15th December 2007
By: Matthew O'Greel

Alan Curbishley gave an honest assessment of his side's performance after a goal in each half condemned the Hammers to defeat against Everton this afternoon.

The United boss admitted that his team lacked the kind of creativity required to break down a resolute visiting side such as Everton - whilst claiming that the 2-0 scoreline was a touch 'flattering'.

"We gave it our best shot but just didn't have the quality to break them down," Curbishley told the BBC's Match of the Day*. "That's great credit to Everton, I think.

"Perhaps we were left wanting again today against a decent side. But we had some glorious chances and didn't take them. We've had two tight games with Everton and they've been closer than perhaps the scoreline suggests."

West Ham's season thus far has been blighted by a succession of injuries, and there was more bad news for Curbishley today after Carlton Cole, who was a late inclusion in the squad, was forced off at half time due to a recurrence of the hip injury that had previously threatened to make him miss the entire match.

Added to that were the newly-acquired injuries for Matthew Etherington and Luis Boa Morte, which meant Curbishley was once again down to the 'bare bones' in terms of team selection.

"When you play three games in a week as we just have perhaps we'd like to make a few changes - changes with players who are fit and ready to come in," said Curbishley. "But we just weren't in that position.

"They've given me everything they have; I've got no complaints this season about their effort. It's been a very difficult first half of the season with constant change and disruption - and we've had it again today.

"But that was a tight game here today, and 2-0 was flattering I think."

Something clearly lacking in the team at present is any kind of creative source which has often seen the team revert to one-dimensional football, much to the chagrin of the watching Boleyn crowd who are used to watching - and expect - far more inventive and adventurous football.

Curbishley is clearly aware of that particular shortcoming - and once again pointed to the injury list as the reason for the lack of inspiring performances.

"It's more the creative players [we're missing] I suppose," he said. "The players we brought in for big money in the summer. We've never had a chance to put it together.

"I couldn't tell you what my best team is because some of the players who thought they wouldn't get a chance in the side have been playing and doing well - Carlton Cole being one of them. And I don't think I'm going to get them all fit, which is frustrating for everybody.

"I've got a strong squad here but I just haven't been in the position to field it and to see what I've got - which is very frustrating for everybody. Most of all for the fans, I think, becasue they've seen us go away from home and pick points up.

"But we're finding it a little bit difficult here."

* KUMB.com are currently unable to attend post-match press conferences at The Boleyn Ground.

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