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Forlorn West Ham defender ponders slow starts

PUBLISHED: 10:30 14 March 2017

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - MARCH 11: West Ham United's Winston Reid and Bournemouth's Benik Afobe during the Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and West Ham United  at Vitality Stadium on March 11, 2017 in Bournemouth,

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - MARCH 11: West Ham United's Winston Reid and Bournemouth's Benik Afobe during the Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and West Ham United at Vitality Stadium on March 11, 2017 in Bournemouth,

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Hammers centre-back Winston Reid contemplates Bournemouth loss

West Ham United's Winston ReidWest Ham United's Winston Reid

West Ham defender Winston Reid leaned back against the corridor wall, adjusted his beanie hat and slowly shook his head as he started into space.

“It was just bad,” he said at last. “The first half was probably one one of the poorest we have played in a long time.”

Saturday’s 3-2 defeat against struggling Bournemouth may live on in the players’ nightmares. Not only did they concede three goals, including one in the final minute, they also conceded two penalties only for both to be missed.

“We did create a couple of chances, it is not like we were just bombarded. They have had a rough time lately, so we knew that they were going to fight, but if we are not even going to compete with them, then we are going to get punished.”

West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic and Winston ReidWest Ham United manager Slaven Bilic and Winston Reid

It did seem that Bournemouth simply wanted the points more than mid-table Hammers, but the 28-year-old New Zealand international disputed that.

“No, no, no, I promise you,” insisted Reid. “If you could see the way we have been training, because the fans don’t get to see that. We have been working really hard, the boys are fit, doing a lot of training.

“So I think we have been a bit naïve lately. You know before you come away that the crowd is going to be up for it, they are in a tough position, so they are going to come out of the blocks quickly, you know it, it is simple.

“The minimum a Premier League team is going to do at home is come at you, it is not rocket science, it is just a little frustrating that we as a group are not doing it.”

Manchester City's Leroy Sane (left) and West Ham United's Winston Reid (right) during the Premier League match at London Stadium.Manchester City's Leroy Sane (left) and West Ham United's Winston Reid (right) during the Premier League match at London Stadium.

Slow starts have been a worrying trait for the Hammers in recent away games and it is something that the central defender wants the team to address.

“We started poor at Watford, we started poor at Southampton and came back from that and we started poor here against Bournemouth, that is just off the top of my head – I should probably mention the Leicester game as well.

“In the past we have been able to come back and we did here, but then we have thrown it away.”

Poor openings have certainly not helped, but in this game, everyone was struggling to make an impression.

“In the first half they won all the second balls and when they came forward they were overlapping and everything,” he said.

“We have to work together and work as a unit and if you don’t do that, you get found out.”

West Ham certainly got found out on Saturday and though they were not helped by referee Robert Madley’s performance, the players and manager had clearly been briefed against criticising the official.

“It is hard to be a referee these days,” he said. “You can’t always hope that the referee is going to get everything right.

“But you can’t come away from home and make basic errors,” he said. “Don’t get me wrong, we can all sit here and have a go at the referee, but that is out of our control, but as a group we need to at least see the game out – The third goal was just far too easy.”

Reid shook his head again, pulled down his hat and sidled off to find the team coach. At least defeat hurts him, it really hurts him.

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