West Ham players care about club's fate says Kevin Keen

West Ham defender Wayne Bridge
West Ham defender Wayne Bridge looks dejected after his side's relegation

West Ham's caretaker boss Kevin Keen says the players do care about the club's Premier League relegation.

Last Sunday's 3-2 defeat at Wigan sent the Hammers into the Championship and manager Avram Grant was sacked.

Some players who are set to leave the club in the summer have indicated they do not want to play Sunderland in the last game of the season on Sunday.

But Keen said: "It's a myth that people don't care. Foreign players get tainted with that mainly, it's totally untrue."

Keen, 44, has stepped up from his role as first-team coach since Grant's dismissal and will take charge for the Sunderland match at Upton Park.

The Hammers have had a troubled week. Their relegation and Grant's exit was followed by an altercation involving Demba Ba at the end-of-season dinner at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London on Monday, with allegations that the striker was racially abused by a fan.

There has also been criticism of the attitude of some of the players, but Keen says relegation has hit the whole squad hard.

Keen added: "The scenes in the dressing room [at the DW Stadium] 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 into the dressing room and academy manager Tony Carr has his head on the floor as he has worked so hard to bring players through and promote."

West Ham hope to end the season on a high note against the Black Cats but Keen, who is set to make changes and field a young side, says he will understand if fans vent their frustration.

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

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