Jamal Baptiste: It’s a tough result to take
Jamal Baptiste was left wanting more from his team's 3-1 defeat to Derby County on Monday evening.
The Hammers were stunned with two quickfire efforts from the home side early in the second half, before Jack Stretton fired in a third just after Sonny Perkins looked to have got the east Londoners back into the contest.
But the game would end in defeat for Baptiste and co in Loughborough, and the 17-year-old reflected on a below-par result from the evening.
“It was a disappointing game for us," the defender told whufc.com. “We worked hard together as a team but weren’t able to get anything from the game.
“Derby were really direct into their frontmen, which caused us a lot of problems at the back. We dealt with it well at times, but at the same time we could have done better.
"It’s a tough result to take, but we need to improve going forward."
The first half was a pretty even match-up for both sides, with neither side really able to get a grip on the ball and control the play as well as they would have liked.
Baptiste believes that the Hammers need to show more fervour in their play, as they did against Ipswich Town and Leeds United in previous outings.
“I think we lacked a little bit of energy and desire. Our overall play was a little bit off tonight and you can’t have that when you play teams in this division, as they will punish you," he said.
There was one reason for Baptiste to smile, though: his friend Perkins had fired in his first goal for the development squad.
Baptiste was delighted to see the 17-year-old find the back of the net, saying: “I’m delighted for Sonny to get his goal, he’s one of my closest friends and it’s great to see that his hard work down in the U18s has paid off.
"He’s been rewarded for that work with a goal.”
The young defender looked ahead to Friday evening's fixture against Crystal Palace at Rush Green Stadium, where the Hammers will be looking to bounce back from this disappointing defeat.
Like his manager, though, the centre-back recognises that the game against Palace won’t be an easy one.
“We need to go again on Friday, we want to go in with a positive mindset against Crystal Palace.
“I think it will be a really good game - it’s a London derby, which is always a feisty contest,” he added.