Papa happy

Papa Bouba Diop should have been all smiles after making an impressive West Ham United debut in Saturday's 2-2 npower Championship draw at Crystal Palace.

However, being the ultimate professional that he is, the towering Senegal midfielder was disappointed that his new club did not pick up all three points at Selhurst Park.

Bouba Diop told West Ham TV that the Hammers should have clipped the Eagles and will have to improve in future matches if they are to maintain their promotion challenge

"I'm happy to play and to come into the team. It was a hard game, but we had opportunities to win this game," said the experienced No21.

"They scored in the first minutes and we came back and in the second half it was the same again. It was difficult when they scored before and we had to come back and try to equalise. We can't play like this.

"Everyone is not happy with what's happened, because we need to defend more solidly and work harder because we are scoring a lot of goals.

"We had a lot of chances and just scored two goals. We could have won this game."

While the 33-year-old was disappointed by the final result in south London, he was naturally pleased to make his first competitive appearance for the club he joined in August.

Having turned out for the development squad in a victory over Brentford and draw at Tottenham Hotspur, Bouba Diop is now targeting more first-team starts as the Hammers embark on an October run of fixtures that includes trips to leaders Southampton and Brighton & Hove Albion and home games against in-form Blackpool and big-spending Leicester City.

"I'm very happy to come back to the pitch and into the team. I was very excited before the game and was happy to play 90 minutes.

"I've just had two reserve games - one 90 minutes and one hour - and now I've had 90 minutes in the first team and I had a good tempo.

"I just need one more game to make West Ham stronger and make a difference in the midfield. We help each other and that's better.

"During the international break, everyone will go back to their houses and think about when we come back. We have two tough games and if we want to stay at the top level, we have to do better."

*To watch Papa Bouba Diop's interview in full, including his happiness at being back in English football and his belief that West Ham United are a Premier League club in waiting, log on or subscribe here.