Under pressure West Ham boss Slaven Bilic is adamant that his side will not be relegated from the Premier League this season.
The Hammers have lost their last five matches and face a genuine six-pointer against Swansea on Saturday.
They lie five points above the Swans, who are 18th, and know another defeat will suck them right into trouble, as well as leave a huge question mark over Bilic’s future.
A season which started with the move to the Olympic Stadium and expectations of another challenge for Europe has unravelled spectacularly.
Owners David Sullivan and David Gold gave Bilic a vote of confidence after the recent defeat at Hull, but that has not stopped fresh speculation that the manager faces the axe if they lose at the weekend.
And Bilic admits that simply staying up should not be a cause of celebration for West Ham – although he is not contemplating anything else.
“I’ve seen bigger clubs in trouble and then when they stay up they celebrate like hell,” he said
“The expectations were to make a big step up, but suddenly we are in a situation where we need points.
“The expectations were that it was going to go down in history as a great season, but it ain’t. It’s either going to go down as a negative season or just okay. But we’re not going down.”
Despite West Ham’s poor run Bilic has so far escaped the anger of the fans, who instead point the finger of blame at the board – for their poor recruitment – or the players themselves.
January captures Jose Fonte and Robert Snodgrass, who cost a combined £18million, have so far been huge let-downs, while summer signings like Jonathan Calleri, Alvero Arbeloa, Simone Zaza, Gokhan Tore and Sofiane Feghouli can be filed anywhere between major disappointments and unmitigated disasters.
However Bilic has dismissed suggestions the players simply do not care enough.
“Of course they care,” he said. “This is not a question of qualifying for Europe or not qualifying for Europe, or whether or not we finish in the top 10. We care about those things, but this is far more serious.
“It’s a very serious situation. It’s not do or die but it’s a serious situation. Do my players care as much as me? I think they do.”