Emanuel Pogatetz admitted to feeling mixed emotions after Sunday's 2-1 Barclays Premier League defeat at Aston Villa.

The Austria international made his first start in English football in nearly three years at Villa Park, starting the game as one of three central defenders in an altered West Ham United formation.

An injury to Joey O'Brien midway through the first half saw the Hammers switch back to a 4-3-3 system. While Sam Allardyce's side adapted to the mid-game change, two set piece goals in the second half put paid to their chances of winning in the West Midlands.

"Of course, for me personally it was great to be playing again in the Premier League," Pogatetz told West Ham TV. "To be playing for a big club such as West Ham, who you see so many supporters follow away from home, was great for me.

"Unfortunately the result didn't go our way so I'm disappointed, but I hope to be involved more so I can play many more games for West Ham and help us to achieve our targets this season and get some more points on the board."

The on-loan VfL Wolfsburg defender flew out to Dubai with his new team-mates following Sunday's game for a few days of warm-weather training.

While some sceptics have dismissed such trips as gimmicks, the No18 knows from personal experience that such excursions can be hugely beneficial for tired bodies and minds.

"When I played in Germany for the last two years, we got a winter break and I think this is a similar break now. The lads will enjoy the break and the warm weather. They can recover the bruises and knocks or whatever they have got and then make a fresh start next Monday when we're back. I think the group will really benefit from it."

Looking back on his full debut, Pogatetz felt West Ham were unfortunate to leave Villa Park empty-handed after dominating for long periods against Paul Lambert's side.

"I think we probably deserved at least a draw. We created a lot of chances but the ball just didn't want to go in. Then they scored from a penalty first and, after that, it was difficult.

"Even in the end stage of the game, we had two incredible opportunities to equalise so it was disappointing that I lost on my debut. For the team, I think we deserved more. Our performance, especially in the second half, was good so I'm a little bit disappointed about that.

"We played 3-5-2 for a few minutes and then we had to change it around anyway because we lost Joey to an injury. We had to switch it around a little bit but we couldn't play that way for too long, so in the end we switched back to four at the back and I think we adapted quite well because we didn't give too many chances away.

"It was unlucky that we didn't score first because, if we had, I think we would have gone on and won the game."

While West Ham's away form continues to be cause for concern, the 30-year-old believes his new club have more than enough quality to ensure they will not be looking over their collective shoulder for the remaining three months of the season.

"We shouldn't panic. We're in a good position. Obviously we know we have hard games coming up, but we are up to the task. On Sunday our performance was all right and if we can push on from that, we can put many more points on the board and achieve everything we want by the end of the season."

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