Curbishley can't wait for Old Trafford test

May 2, 2008

Alan Curbishley insists West Ham United will not be at Old Trafford just to make up the numbers on Saturday, when the 'whole world will be watching' as Manchester United look to close in on the Premier League title.

Sir Alex Ferguson's men are top of the table with just two games left and victory over the Hammers would all but secure the championship, given their superior goal difference over Chelsea, who play at Newcastle on Monday night.

However, Curbishley has masterminded three wins over United in their previous three meetings, including a famous triumph on the final day of last season which kept the Hammers up.

The West Ham manager knows the stakes are just as high this time around, but for United now rather than his 10th-placed side.

'The whole world will be watching the game on Saturday and we want to show what we can do,' Curbishley said.

'It is uncanny how the fixtures have worked out, similar to last year - although this time the tables have turned somewhat.

'The Premier League has been massively competitive, there are no 'gimmes'.

'If you look at why Man United are battling out this weekend its because Middlesbrough and Blackburn took them to the wire and Wigan came back in the last minute at Chelsea.

'The integrity of the Premier League has always been there and this is the most competitive I have ever been involved in.

'Man United thought they had it wrapped up a couple of weeks ago, but the resilience of Chelsea has been fantastic and they have kept going, so to the end it has been a fantastic struggle.'

The Hammers' campaign, though, petered out several months ago with mid-table security assured.

Curbishley, though, insists any suggestions staff are already thinking about the summer are wide of the mark.

He said: 'We have been accused of packing up and going on holiday and that sort of stuff - it is frustrating when comments like that come out.

'Every week we have had at least six or seven first-teamers out, and the players have done fantastically to get where they are and we want to stay there.

'There are a few things going on on Saturday, obviously one of them is getting that top-10 finish we want to secure and we want to go there and let people know who we are.'

Midfielder Freddie Ljungberg is the latest player to join an already crowded treatment room after the Sweden international cracked a rib following a collision with Newcastle's Steven Taylor last week.

Curbishley lamented: 'If sides like Blackburn, Man City or Everton and Portsmouth had six or seven first-teamers out every week, I think they would have found it difficult.

'The fans were frustrated and upset a week ago and they let us know - but when you sit down and analyse it, just look at the players we have had missing.'

Curbishley added: 'I have kept on about it for too long and it has turned into a bit of a negative. Hopefully we can get them fit and ready for pre-season.'