Ben Johnson believes West Ham United will be ready to tackle the season’s run-in with renewed vigour after the international break.
The Hammers were on the wrong end of a 3-1 scoreline at Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, a result that brought an end to a two-match winning streak ahead of March’s international window.
Johnson and his teammates gave their all in north London, but ultimately were left to rue a slow start which saw the hosts race into a two-goal lead inside 24 minutes.
Saïd Benrahma kept his side in the contest with his ninth goal of the season before half-time and although the Irons pushed, Son Heung-min’s second of the game, two minutes from time, wrapped it up.
The end result was disappointment for Johnson, yet he was quick to point to a positive month for the Hammers, which has seen them progress to the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals and maintain their quest for a second successive European campaign.
“It was a tough one really,” he said. “We conceded two early goals, but we worked tirelessly to get back in the game and for long periods we were in it.
“They might have had some opportunities, but we were trying to be threatening and unfortunately we couldn’t get the second.
“We don’t go into any game thinking we’re going to concede chances, or be in fear of other players. We know that our defenders have been immense this season and there are some things that just need to be tinkered a bit and today was just one of those days where we didn’t defend as well as we have in past games.
“It’s a difficult one to take, but we’ve got the international break now to get back to work, refresh and prepare for the Everton game.”
“It’s really important going from Thursday to Sunday to really warm up well and start the game well,” he explained. “We kept the ball well at the start, but maybe we were a little bit sluggish to second balls.
“Obviously when the opposition score you wake up and that brought us into the game. We scored a brilliant goal with Saïd, but we gave them too much too early unfortunately and we found ourselves trying to come out of a massive hole.
“That’s something we don’t want to be in in the last nine games of the season – we want to be in front, trying to keep as many clean sheets as possible.
“We’ve had seven or eight games over the last month so it’s been a gruelling time and we’ve done extremely well in 95 per cent of the games. Even on Sunday there were positives to take from the game.
“Some of the work we’ve done over this month has been immense and hopefully we can recharge and go into the last eight or nine games firing and feeling fresh and ready to end the season well.”