Macca on Monday

Assistant manager Neil McDonald believes West Ham United’s upcoming fixtures provide the perfect opportunity to pick up points
Neil McDonald knows West Ham United must deliver in their remaining nine fixtures if they are to achieve their improved targets for the season.

Saturday’s 3-0 loss at Arsenal capped off a tricky run of fixtures that had seen Big Sam’s side line up against all of the current top six in their last seven games. In contrast, West Ham’s final nine games will only see them face top ten sides on two occasions, something the West Ham United assistant manager knows the team must capitalise on.

“Our progression is trying to get into the top eight if we possibly can,” McDonald said. “At the start of the season it was top ten and with the points we started off with it was realistic to set the target a little bit higher.

“We just fell short over the last four or five games against the top teams in the league. Hopefully we can pick up a few points now and believe in ourselves as we have done against the top teams.

“We've been finished off sometimes and let a couple of goals in so we need to be smarter in how we manage the rest of the games.

“We all know that we have had a lot of tough games against a lot of the top six teams and the manager is happy with certain aspects of the game and unhappy with others. We have had some really good performances but we just haven’t had the results and we have just got to marry that up now in the next six games now to try to push us back up the table.

“They are all difficult games in the Premier League but we feel as though we've got a good chance of putting more points on the board and pushing up that table towards the target that we set."

Saturday’s scoreline at the Emirates was a little unfair on the Hammers, who created some good openings and were much improved after the interval. At just 1-0 down with just ten minutes left on the clock, there was still hope for the impressive 3,000 travelling fans but goals from Aaron Ramsey and Mathieu Flamini snuffed out any late hope of leaving north London with any points.

“The manager was angry at the way we conceded the two goals towards the end. He felt as though the players did not pass the ball well enough in the first half and yet in the second half they certainly did that, so the response was there, which was great.

“They scored their first just before the break, which knocks the stuffing out of you, but that does not really change the team-talk at half time. We just needed to pass the ball a little bit better and needed to move up the pitch a little bit better and get in behind them a little bit better.

“And the players certainly did that, so they listened to the manager so that was fantastic and the response was really good. And then, us conceding two goals at the end, it’s what Arsenal usually do if you leave the space. We left that space and they have clinically finished us off.”