Under-fire West Ham manager Sam Allardyce has received a vote of confidence from the club's joint-chairmen.
The London club sit 19th in the Premier League and suffered an embarrassing 5-0 defeat at the hands of Championship outfit Nottingham Forest in the third round of the FA Cup on Sunday.
In an open letter posted on West Ham's official website, David Sullivan and David Gold acknowledged the "seriousness of our current predicament" but urged supporters to stick behind Allardyce and his team.
"We know Sam has not lost his ambition or desire and is committed to making West Ham United a great Premier League Club," read the letter.
Sullivan and Gold defended Allardyce's decision to rest several senior players for the clash with Forest, in light of an injury crisis at the club.
They continued: "Like all West Ham United supporters we feel frustrated and hurt by our recent results. We understand how you feel and we, the board, feel the same.
"It is never enjoyable being knocked out of a cup competition and losing by such a large scoreline to a lower division side is hard to take for us all.
"We thought the youngsters gave their all and did not stop trying but in the end Nottingham Forest's experience proved too much for us.
"I know Sam would have loved to have put out a more varied side, with our talented youngsters accompanied by more senior players in the starting XI.
"But many key players are out injured and Sam has been handed a near impossible task of coming through three crucial games in the space of six days with a squad of only 14 fit and available senior players. This is not an excuse; it is a fact."
Despite the club's perilous position, West Ham's co-chairmen remain optimistic and expect the squad to be bolstered over the coming weeks.
In addition to the anticipated returns from injury of key players such as Andy Carroll and Winston Reid, West Ham are confident of adding a striker and defender to their ranks.
"Our first priority is to get our key players fit. Our record signing Andy Carroll continues to make good progress following his return to first-team training and he should be back on the pitch very soon along with Hammer of the Year Winston Reid and our other missing central defenders, James Tomkins and James Collins," Sullivan and Gold added.
"Trust us, Andy Carroll is desperate to play and is ready to do his bit for the team and we are confident that the return of all of our injured players will lead to an upturn in our fortunes.
"Thereafter, our second priority is to bring in the new talent needed to bolster our squad in the most needed areas.
"January is not an easy time to do business but we are pleased to confirm we are close to securing one of our key striking targets.
"A defender is high on the list of priorities as well and progress is being made on that front.
"We understand these are difficult times for the club and its supporters, but we must stay united and come through the other side together."
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