Kevin Keen believes West Ham’s promotion battle starts on Sunday when they host Sunderland looking to finish a desperately disappointing season on a positive note.The Hammers were relegated after last Sunday’s 3-2 defeat at Stoke, with manager Avram Grant sacked in the immediate aftermath.
Keen has been placed in temporary charge and admits he would love the job on a full-time basis, claiming he intends to impress the owners by bringing attractive football back to Upton Park.
“As far as I am concerned the first game of next season is this Sunday,” Keen said.
“I have a lot of young players chomping at the bit to play. It will be a West Ham side.”
“That is what I want, players who will go out and show a real desire to play for the claret and blue shirt, and hopefully show a flair and ability on the football that this club deserves.”
“We have got a game on Sunday we want to win. We owe the supporters so much.”
“My focus has been on making sure the players are aware of that.”
Keen said he wanted the coaching job at Upton Park.
“I am West Ham United through and through. I had nine years as a player and this is my ninth season back coaching.”
“Anyone who has got that connection with the football club would love to be given that opportunity.”
“If the opportunity was given to me it would be a great honour and I’d love to be able to do it.”
“I know the way the supporters want us to play, I know the way I want us to play, attacking football with flair and passing, but at the same time some of that Billy Bonds or Julian Dicks spirit, that when a tackle is there to be made they make it.”
“That is what the supporters want and hopefully that is what the future holds for West Ham.”
Keen admits it has been a woeful season under Grant, claiming the entire club’s staff and players should take responsibility.
“Whenever a manager leaves it is disappointing,” he said.
“You saw after the game last week how humble and disappointed Avram was that things hadn’t gone his way.”
“We underperformed as staff and as players they have underperformed.”
“There is no denying that. We are bottom of the league and we have underperformed.”
“Now I want to focus on getting West Ham a win and repaying the supporters who have backed us to the bitter end.”