Curbishley: I can handle West Ham expectation

Alan Curbishley says the weight of expectation sits comfortably on his shoulders as he bids to establish West Ham as a Premier League force.

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But his new-look side stuttered badly on the opening day of the season, going down 2-0 to Sven-Goran Eriksson's Manchester City.

And Curbishley knows his expensively-assembled squad desperately need to kick start their season when they travel to newly-promoted Birmingham, the club he joined after leaving West Ham as a player 28 years ago, on Saturday.

"I read in the Birmingham programme this week that 'Curbs is coming back with his big-spending power' and I had to laugh because up until Thursday we'd spent just £1million more than we had taken in, but no-one seems to say that," he said.

"But we are trying to build a squad here and, if you look at the players we have brought in, and the money we have paid for them, then we are quite comfortable with it.

"We are buying players of proven quality and hopefully they can give us a season that we need, and hopefully that will start this weekend.

"We had a bad start on Saturday, but we've had a good look at the game. Everyone was disappointed with it but we know where we can improve and we have to do that against Birmingham.

"I'm quite pleased we didn't have a match in midweek, because when you have pre-season and then a build-up to the game like we did, and then it goes as flat as ours did, you need to have a look at things.

"The players have digested what went on and know we have to do better on Saturday - which we are quite capable of doing. It's a difficult game but it's also an opportunity to bounce back."

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