West Ham United Vs Sunderland, Sun 22 May 2011

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West Ham's caretaker manager Kevin Keen has refuted suggestions the players did not care enough about the club's fate.

Keen painted a picture of desolation in the changing room after last weekend's 3-2 defeat at Wigan confirmed their relegation from the Barclays Premier League.

West Ham play Sunderland on Sunday and Keen has revealed that some players set for a summer move from Upton Park have indicated they do not want to play.

But Keen insisted relegation hit the whole squad hard.

"It's a myth that certain people don't care," said Keen.

"Foreign players get tainted with that mainly, it is totally untrue.

"The scenes in the dressing room were as fans would hope, especially with the way that we lost the game, being 2-0 (ahead), 2-2 and then losing.

"There was genuine disappointment. You come back and (academy manager) Tony Carr has his head on the floor as he has worked so hard to bring players through and promote.

"It is myth that people don't care."

Keen would understand if some West Ham supporters use tomorrow's game as an opportunity vent their frustrations about a disappointing season.

But the former Hammers midfielder is set to name a side packed with home-grown talent and he urged the Upton Park faithful to get behind them.

"There may be a small element but we have had a rubbish season haven't we?" said Keen.

"If you can't go to West Ham and pay your money and say 'why don't you try harder?'... that is part of football.

"You need to be big enough and strong enough to deal with it.

"I am sure the majority, with the team I am picking, will be behind us and want us to get a win."


Bolo Zenden has urged his Sunderland team-mates to go out on a high as a season which promised much but delivered little draws to a close.

The Black Cats head to Upton Park still in with a chance of securing the top-10 Barclays Premier League finish on which they set their sights in August last year, but having crumpled alarmingly in the face of an ongoing injury crisis.

Zenden, who will play his final game for the club - if selected - at Upton Park after rejecting the chance to remain on Wearside, is acutely aware of what might have been, but insists they must carry on the fight until the final ball is kicked.

The 34-year-old Dutchman said: "It's the last game of the season and it's going to be an important one.

"We are definitely going to finish [at least] 14th, but there is some ground to be made up if certain results go our way as well.

"We just have to make sure we win on Sunday.

"With West Ham already being relegated, who knows how they are going to come out? Is it going to be positive, negative? How is the crowd going to react to them? Are they still going to put out a full squad?

"You never know what is going to happen in the last game of the season because probably for them, there's not much at stake.

"They want to give a farewell with a good feeling, but for us, there are still a few points to put on the board which can make a massive difference again for the team.

"At the beginning of the season, the main goal was to finish in the top 10, and it comes down to the last game, just like last year, where it is still possible.

"But we should have put that away a bit earlier in the season."

Sunderland seemed certainties to end the campaign in the top half of the table when a 2-1 win at Blackpool on January 22 left them in sixth place with 37 points.

Significantly, the win at Bloomfield Road came four days after leading scorer Darren Bent's #24million defection to Aston Villa had rocked the club, and the decisions both to let him go and not replace him in the short-term have prompted much soul-searching on Wearside since.

Last weekend's 3-1 home defeat by Wolves was the Black Cats' 10th in 13 games since the trip to Blackpool, and four months on, they sit in 14th place having only eased themselves clear of the fight for top-flight survival with victories over Wigan and Bolton in the nick of time.

Steve Bruce's men have collected just seven of the last 39 points they have contested - by comparison, the Hammers have managed 12, second-bottom Wigan 17 and Ian Holloway's men, who are currently in 18th place, 12.

Injuries have undoubtedly taken their toll, and the potential returns of Asamoah Gyan - the Ghana international's absence for the last three games has left his manager without a single fit senior striker - and Anton Ferdinand from hamstring problems would represent a boost.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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