West Ham United assistant boss Neil McDonald felt his side handled the step up in class of opposition well following Wednesday's 0-0 draw at Sky Bet Championship side Ipswich Town.

After drawing 2-2 at League Two side Stevenage at the weekend, McDonald was pleased to see West Ham in tighter mood defensively, and although they could not force a breakthrough, he was nevertheless happier with the tempo and rhythm to their play.

Macca says the Hammers have made solid progress in the two weeks of pre-season to date and he looks forward to seeing that upward curve continue as they head to New Zealand for the Football United tour next.

"It was a great test," he said. "The game itself was played at a higher tempo which was excellent and it's the second game in three or four days that everyone's got through.

"We kept a clean sheet this time, although we haven't scored, and there's still lots to do.

"In the first half we tested their goalkeeper and we missed the target on a couple of occasions, but that will sharpen up as time goes on. Even in the second half we created a fair few chances and I'm not too sure our goalkeeper's had a save to make, so that's pleasing.

"The tempo was much better than on Saturday and that's what we're looking to improve on every single game in pre-season.

"We're still mixing the teams up, nothing's solid and nothing's set, so we'll try different partnerships, different ways of playing and we'll get it right for the first game of the season."

Mauro Zarate
Mauro Zarate made his first appearance in a Hammers shirt

Summer arrival Mauro Zarate was given his first run-out in a Hammers shirt at Ipswich, and although he was withdrawn with 30 minutes play under his belt, McDonald said that was planned all along.

He explained: "It was always planned for Mauro to play half-an-hour. He's a little bit behind in training with the little aches and pains he's had, and we've had to be careful, so it's good for him to come into a competitive game.

"He showed a few nice touches and he gets in the box, which is excellent, but we'll take no chances in pre-season."

Now West Ham jet off the New Zealand, with a game against Wellington Phoenix next on the agenda and McDonald cannot wait for the adventure.

He added: "We're looking forward to New Zealand. It's a long journey of course, but we know that. The two games we've got are really good - they're going to be played in front of big crowds at Eden Park and in Wellington.

"There'll be lots of West Ham supporters there and hopefully we'll convert a few more in New Zealand too!"

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