Upson responds to Sullivan comments

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West Ham captain Matthew Upson has dismissed criticism from the club's co-owner David Sullivan as "irrelevant".

In an open letter to fans, posted on the club's official website on Thursday, Sullivan unveiled his anger at Tuesday's 3-1 home defeat to Wolves. The former Birmingham supremo slammed West Ham's performance as "shambolic" and demanded the team showed its quality against Stoke at the weekend.

The defeat left West Ham deep in trouble at the foot of the table but while Upson admitted Sullivan "is entitled to his beliefs" he said the players would work out the problems with coaches and manager Gianfranco Zola.

"We're doing that and everything else is pretty irrelevant," Upson told BBC Radio Five Live. "If David Sullivan wants to air his views on the club's website or in public then he does so - he's the chairman.

"I wouldn't say, from a player's point of view, that it helps. But we only concentrate on what we feel is wrong and how the coaches and manager assess the game, what they want us to do.

"And that's what we'll do, because they're in charge of the situation. They're the people we want to listen to."

Zola's West Ham side remain three points clear of the relegation zone following defeat by Wolves but they face another testing home game against Stoke on Saturday.

Upson, 30, made 113 appearances for Birmingham while they were owned by Sullivan and his business partner David Gold, a spell which included relegation from the Barclays Premier League in 2006. The pair have been in charge of West Ham since January and although they have backed Zola, his future after the end of the season remains unclear.

But the players are backing the Italian to come through the latest crisis.

"It's testing times and it tests character, but that's something I think the manager has," said Upson. "It's a big test for him at the moment but I'm sure we'll come out of it."

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Matthew Upson
Stoke City
Premier League
Gianfranco Zola
Wolverhampton Wanderers

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