Alou Diarra started his first Barclays Premier League game in nearly a year at Fulham on Wednesday, but the Cottagers' 2-1 victory meant it was not a happy return to starting action for the Frenchman.

Diarra started the game at centre-half with injuries keeping all three of the Hammers' frontline defenders injured, and the Hammers saw a lead go to waste after Mo Diame put them in front early on.

Steve Sidwell and Dimitar Berbatov then found the net to keep the points in west London, while the visitors' task was made all the more difficult by Kevin Nolan's sending off on the stroke of half time.

"It wasn't the result we wanted," Diarra said. "We lost at Fulham and it was difficult to play ten against eleven for the second half.

"We tried to do our best, but we were unlucky in the end. We scored the first goal and had a big chance to score a second, so to concede from a corner was a big disappointment,

"Now we must recover and win the next game."

The Hammers have now not made the most of leads in their last three games, having gone in front against Arsenal, West Bromwich Albion and Fulham, and Diarra is well aware that their generosity has to stop.

He continued: "It is frustrating that we've had the lead in the last three games and only taken one point from them. It's not enough and we must do better.

"But if we continue to play with this solidarity, it will get easier for us."

Diarra felt comfortable in the more unfamiliar position of centre-half on Wednesday, and he wants to play his part as the Hammers try to turn their season around.

He added: "I've played at centre-back sometimes, so it was ok to play there again on Wednesday before the red card and injury to Mark.

"We changed tactics then and I went back into the middle. I felt that before their equaliser we were in control of the game and had the chance to score.

"When we lost Kevin, we conceded too many chances and ended up losing the game."

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