WEST HAM still have a ‘big chance’ to stay in the Premier League, according to striker Demba Ba, despite the club having been installed as odds-on favourites to drop into the Championship.
A fifth consecutive defeat at Eastlands on Sunday knocked the Hammers to the canvas, keeping them at the foot of the table.
They will have to come out swinging in their final three games of the season, with Blackburn Rovers the visitors to Upton Park this week.
Nothing less than three points will do to survive the standing ten count and keep the fight for safety alive.
Two early goals from Nigel de Jong and Pablo Zabaleta effectively ended West Ham’s hopes of returning from Manchester with anything other than their tail between their legs.
It was a shockingly lackadaisical beginning to the contest from the visitors, mirroring the false start at Bolton two weeks earlier.
Nobody would have thought there was a relegation battle raging around them.
Ba struck just after the half hour mark with a neat finish inside the box to give the supporters behind the goal a glimmer of hope.
But there was little else the away side created against their Champions League-chasing opponents.
Bookmakers have as good as written off the Irons’ chances of staying up, with some installing them as short as 1/5 to be relegated.
However, there is still some fighting spirit left in the squad, claims Ba, one of the club’s success stories from the January transfer window, having celebrated his fifth goal of the campaign against City.
“The season is not finished yet. We have three games to go and if we do well in the last three games then we could save West Ham,” said the Senegal international.
“If we give 100 per cent then if we stay up we will be happy, but if we are relegated we will go with no regret. But we still have a big chance, a really big chance.”
Ba admits he has been surprised by the team’s recent demise, having played a part in a revival since the turn of the year.
“I am really surprised, but it is not only me who is surprised,” he added. “I think when you see the way we played the two last weeks, it should be a surprise, because we had good games, but if you miss the chances then you can’t get the results.”