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Dave Evans, West Ham Correspondent
Monday, January 6, 2014
Hammers winger Stewart Downing has dumped Man City out of the League Cup semi-final before, now he is looking to do it all again
When it comes to beating Manchester City in the semi-final of the Capital One Cup, most would say that West Ham need a miracle.
But for Hammers winger Stewart Downing he has been there, done it and bought the t-shirt in his time at Liverpol.
The £6 million summer signing, played an important part in the 2011/12 Carling Cup semi-final as the Reds shocked City over two legs, becoming the first team to win at the Etihad this season.
If the Hammers can emulate that this Wednesday, they will be the first to win at the seemingly impregnable Etihad this term.
“We gave Manchester City a good game at our place, especially in the second half,” said the 29-year-old.
“We need to go up there and play well and it is over two legs, so anything can happen.
“I went there with Liverpool when they were unbeaten at home and we beat them 1-0, then we drew 2-2 at home and got to the final, so it could be done again – who knows?”
It would certainly be a magnificent achievement if West Ham can achieve it, especially with so many injuries in their ranks.
Liverpool went on to win the Carling Cup that year, beating Cardiff City on penalties with Downing scoring one of the spot-kicks.
This year, West Ham have to strike the right balance between their team for tonight and the line-up for Saturday’s crucial clash at Cardiff City in the Premier League.
“I think the Premier League is the most important thing, but the semi-final is there to be played and I am sure the manager will go up there and pick a strong team,” said Downing.
“It is a semi-final and if we can win it, it breeds confidence. It is any win from any game that is what we need at the minute to get our confidence back.
Downing and the rest of the West Ham team would have had their confidence severely dented by Sunday’s embarrassing 5-0 drubbing by Nottingham Forest.
The former England man was made captain for the day and he was attempting to cling to the positives afterwards.
“It was me and all the debutants wasn’t it?!” smiled Downing about being elevated to the captaincy.
“Sam gave me the armban and I was over the moon about it, but it just would have been nice if we had got a result to go with it.
“I think for 60 minutes we did quite well, especially after going 1-0 down. In the second half we had them pinned a little bit, if we had got a goal then it might have been a very different game.
“But obviously with the young lads in the team, they wanted to push on and get goals and they punished us in the end.
“I think 5-0 is a little but harsh though.”
Downing bowed out after 64 minutes of Sunday’s game as he continies his comeback from another injury in what has been a frustrating season.
“I am fully fit,” he said. “It was quite strange because I have always been fit, but I had a gash which was quite hard to put a boot over and run with.
“If it has been on the thigh then I would have been all right, but because it was on the Achilles it was quite sore and in a dangerous area too.
“It has been frustrating. I’ve had two niggly injuries, but hopefully I can now stay fit and we can get some of the other players back and get out of the situation that we find ourselves in.”