Dimitri Payet says West Ham United have to perform as they did against Manchester City in every Barclays Premier League game if they want to sustain their challenge for European football.
The Hammers came within a whisker of toppling Manuel Pellegrini’s men at the Boleyn Ground and the mercurial Frenchman insists victory would have been nothing more than his side deserved.
The challenge now, says the 28-year-old, is to replicate that level of performance no matter who the Hammers are up against.
“Honestly, it was an exciting game to be involved in,” he told whufc.com. “We are all motivated, we all want to do well and we showed that on Saturday evening.
“We hit the bar with the last attack of the game and we deserved better. We were up against Manchester City, so we’ll settle for the point and we’ll definitely take the positives of the game.
“We have to remember what we’ve achieved, because against a team like City, it’s interesting to see us play the way we did and it’s from this sort of game that you take the experience and you progress.
“Unfortunately, the championship doesn’t only consist of teams like this, we saw last week at Newcastle that it was much more difficult for us. We have to be consistent if we want to finish toward the top of the table.
“We have to be ambitious. We know there are some big teams above us but it’s up to us to continue as we played on Saturday, to put our game in place. The battle’s going to be tough, but we mustn’t get carried away, we have to stay concentrated.”
Elsewhere, Payet was quick to pile plaudits on the in-form Enner Valencia, who has now bagged four times in his last three outings. The summer signing from Marseille says Valencia is a natural goalscorer and was always destined to get back among the goals.
He continued: “That’s the Enner we know. He’s obviously had his injuries but it feels like he’s rediscovered his confidence and he’s a true finisher.”
And he had a special word for young debutant Sam Byram too, who showed no little composure and ability on his Hammers bow, despite being thrown in at the deep end after just 13 minutes.
“I shouldn’t think he was expecting to end up on the pitch so early. He absolutely did his job.
“I know he ended up with, I’m not sure what, slight cramp, I suppose, but his debut was very encouraging.
“It’s not easy to come on that early and it’s not easy against City and he had to deal with both! Congratulations to him.”