West Ham have moved to play down reports which suggested Marlon Harewood was subjected to a siege from angry supporters upon leaving Upton Park at the weekend.
A 1-0 home defeat to Watford did nothing to alleviate a growing sense of doom at the East End strugglers and it was Harewood, along with his manager Alan Curbishley that bore the brunt of the supporters' collective frustrations.
Harewood was guilty of a penalty miss which would have rescued his side a share of the spoils, with West Ham now a full five points from safety.
Reports had suggested Harewood was forced to endure the vitriolic wrath of around 15 supporters who surrounded him in the club's car park, before verbally abusing the striker.
However, the club have suggested that contrary to speculation, the incident is not as serious as has been reported and that Harewood has been surprised at the furore caused.
"I'm afraid stories of mob fury have been rather exaggerated," said a West Ham spokeswoman.
"Marlon rang the press office today saying he was surprised about how the incident was reported.
"He was in an area where lots of players stop in their cars to sign autographs before taking the main road but inevitably there are a few critics around, too.
"We are certainly not especially worried about players' safety and security there."