False start left Hammers with mountain to climb

West Ham defender James Tomkins believes that the team cannot afford to make disastrous starts like they did at Bolton last Saturday.

�West Ham’s disastrous start at the Reebok on Saturday was the main reason for their heavy defeat insisted defender James Tomkins after the match.

The Hammers needed to get out of the blocks against a powerful Bolton Wanderers team, but they found themselves under the cosh and two goals down in just 20 agonising minutes.

“Obviously when you come to the Reebok you want to start the game well and we didn’t,” admitted the 22-year-old defender.

“We didn’t play the way we wanted to in the first half and when you go two goals down in quick succession it is a long and hard way to come back.”

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Tomkins did find some positives, even from Saturday’s crushing 3-0 defeat as he was quick to praise the efforts that the team put in during the second half, in stark contrast to last week’s capitulation against league leaders Manchester United.

“I don’t think last week’s game knocked our confidence,” insisted Tomkins. “Obviously that was disappointing as well, we had a bad second half there, but against Bolton I thought we started the second half a lot brighter.

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“We got the ball on the floor, started playing the way we can and then they go up the other end and score, so that was a bit of a downer.”

A downer indeed as it signalled the end of any hope of a comeback by the Hammers, though the defender maintained that the players stuck to their task throughout.

“After they scored the third, we started to play again after that, so there was a lot more encouragement for us to take from the second half,” he said.

“But when you go 2-0 down, you are looking to start the second half well, get an early goal and then you never know. It never happened, because we conceded that third.”

Tomkins was surprisingly thrust into the right back slot at the start of Saturday’s game, a role he played in the two games against Stoke City last month, and despite being given a tough time by both Matty Etherington against the Potters and Martin Petrov for Bolton, he is happy to do his bit.

“I’m fairly familiar with the role,” he said. “I played in pre-season and a couple of times there already this season.

“Wherever he puts me, I am happy to play, do my best to play well and do a job for the team.”

That is just as well as there are likely to be more tough jobs for Tomkins and the rest of the West Ham squad to come in the next few weeks, starting with the showdown against Aston Villa on Saturday at Upton Park.

“The manager is keeping positive,” said Tomkins.

“He told us to forget about this result. It was disappointing, but we are fighting a battle now and we have to concentrate on the next game and getting the three points there.”

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