Downing - 'We had to be more patient'

Stewart Downing felt the Hammers were too anxious to force the issue against Palace

Stewart Downing says West Ham United need to get better against teams who set up to frustrate them if they are to push back towards the top end of the Barclays Premier League table.

Despite enjoying 66 per cent possession against Crystal Palace on Saturday, the Hammers were defeated 3-1 by an Eagles team content to sit back and hit their hosts on the break.

Downing is certain his team will take that experience as a lesson and use it to improve for the rest of the campaign.

He explained: “We went into Saturday’s game off a good result at Tottenham, but I think a lot of teams are coming here and trying to frustrate us.

“They’re getting people behind the ball and I don’t think we were patient enough. We tried to force it too much, and it wasn’t until they went 2-0 up that we started to penetrate.

“We got the goal back, but we left it a little too late. Hopefully it’s just a blip and we don’t want it to continue because we were really confident we could win the game on Saturday.”

Downing’s eighth assist of the season set up Enner Valencia’s 76th minute consolation and the 30-year-old midfielder was pleased to see his teammate score a first league goal since November.

He continued: “It was a good strike from Enner. The keeper got his hand to it but he had a couple of good shots.

“We needed to get him on the ball in those kind of areas but it was difficult in the first half.

“I’m sure he’s happy to be back on the scoresheet, but overall we’re disappointed we didn’t win because we had it down as a winnable game.”

With Chelsea next up, Downing knows the Hammers need to bounce back swiftly.

He said: “Our best performances have come against the teams at the top, but if we want to be in the top half we need to win games like Saturday’s.

“Chelsea will be difficult but we’ve got nothing to lose. We’ve got a good record at home against the top teams and we need to get back to basics.”