WHEN YOU SUFFER
defeat like we did against Fulham, particularly the fashion of that loss, you are looking for the character of the players to bounce back.
Under difficult circumstances we came through, because West Ham are a good side and they are fighting for their lives as well. The team they put out was a strong physical side, very much with an eye on defence with the two full backs.
It was always going to be difficult, but we showed great character to win the game after the disappointment of twice losing the lead.
It is always a concern when you are conceding goals, sloppy goals as such. But, it is about character and seeing it in the side. These things are always going to happen. Throughout the season there are going to be highs and lows.
There will be disappointments. There will be periods of the season where we are playing well and maybe not getting the results and periods where we're not playing as well as we can and getting the points.
At the moment the boys are certainly showing a tremendous character and spirit.
On Saturday we were handed a home tie with Cardiff City in the Worthington Cup. The fact that it is a home game is a big advantage, as Cardiff is a very difficult place to go.
They have a big support and, in their division, they are a very big club. While it is an advantage to play at home, at this stage you cannot afford to underestimate anybody.
For them it is going to be a massive game and they will be looking forward to it, very much so.
Cardiff have a couple of highly promising young players in their ranks who have already achieved international recognition with Wales - defender Daniel Gabbidon and striker Robert Earnshaw.
I know both players and they are both still in their development. They are regarded as good up and coming young players and the next two years, if their development continues, will see if they go on to bigger and better things.
Cardiff are a good side and it has built up over the last couple of years. It's certainly not going to be an easy game, that's for sure.
On Saturday I made a return to Loftus Road to see the game between QPR and Swindon. My focus, of course, was on our young midfielder Johnnie Jackson, who has just started a three-month loan period with Swindon.
I thought he did very well. It is difficult for John because he's gone into play first team football at that level when he hasn't actually had a great number of games this season. He received a red card in a pre-season tournament and I think he has only played one reserve game.
The first half, in particular, I thought he did very well. After that his performance went really with the performance of the team. Swindon held their own in the first half and were very much a match for QPR and amongst that John did very well.
He did very well on set plays, corners and free-kicks, but perhaps didn't get as much involvement in the second half as he would have liked. I think that will come with fitness, but it was in line with the performance of the side.
John played on the left of a midfield three and I think it suited him in there. It is a position where you can be involved in the game and get a lot of the ball. I just hope that in the games from now, which I'm sure will come thick and fast, that he does well and plays in a position that is good for him.
When someone goes out on loan, as much as possible, somebody from within the staff will watch him. If not it will be one of our scouts who regularly go to games that will watch and give performance assessments. We do try to keep it very much in-house though.
We face a tough trip on Saturday to Old Trafford and one thing I would say about United is that, even as a coach, you never lose the excitement of going there. Irrespective of what your form is, or theirs.
It's still the place to go, for our players it is a very exciting prospect to go there and play in front of a massive crowd and try and come away with some sort of result.
Manchester United, like us, are suffering with injuries and they seem to be affected in the midfield area. There isn't a team around that can afford to lose five or six quality players and still be the same outfit.
Time tells, if we get any sort of result on Saturday, then it was a good time to play them. You can never underestimate them, if you look at the squad they've got and who can come in. If they are not the best then they are not far off it.
The prospect of going up there is something everyone looks forward to.