West Ham: We're up for Man City challenge, says Downing

By Rob Virtue on May 7, 2014 7:30 AM |

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Going into the last game of the season against Manchester City at the Etihad, Stewart Downing said West Ham are aiming to spoil the title party.

The Hammers winger said he and his teammates want to exorcise the ghost of the thrashing they received in the Capital One cup earlier in the season.

"We have to finish the season well," he said. "We need to finish as high as we can. It will be a difficult game and the pressure is on them at home, so they have to react to this pressure to win.

"For us we can go there and play with confidence. The last time we went there they smashed us 6-0, so I think we owe them one and owe the manager a good performance, and you never know we could do someone else a favour."

But, speaking after the victory over Tottenham on Saturday, Downing expressed his delight of the fact West Ham are now safe from the drop and also about bagging his first goal for the club.

Not only was Downing pleased to finally hit the target for the Hammers after his £6m move from the Reds last summer, but also about the performance his fellow teammates produced.

"I think everything came together for us all," said Downing. "Andy Carroll at times was unplayable.

"I was enjoying the game and when you come up against a player like Danny Rose, you know your in for a tough game.

"It was probably my best performance in a West ham shirt, but I also think it was the best performance as a team this season."

Downing said he believed his form had dipped over the last couple of weeks and was glad to be a key part of the success against Spurs.

And he said both he and the squad now need to strive for consistency next season.

"I think every footballer has ups and downs in their career, but you've just got to get through it," he said.

"As a team performance we pressed Tottenham well and forced them into making mistakes. When we get a strong squad together and everybody's fit then we are a decent team.

"However, this has got to be the platform for next season. You can't just do it every couple of weeks because you can find yourself in trouble, which we have."

As for the goal, which came from a free-kick, Downing said he felt the wall helped him.

"I saw in the free kick that Carroll took that the wall splits, so I just hit it as hard as I could hoping the wall would split again and it did," he said. "The keeper was unsighted, and as you could see Lloris was not very happy.

"But I think we needed that little bit of luck that was well overdue, and to sign off on the last home game with a win is nice.

"Ultimately you would like to score and assist goals as much as you can. In the position I am in, I've been unlucky a few times this season but you've have to keep putting yourselves in them positions and it usually pays off in the end."

Manager Sam Allardyce has received a torrent of abuse from fans urging him to leave the club in recent weeks. Nevertheless, Downing said he has full backing for the boss.

"When you lose games, all the anger goes towards the manager," said the former Aston VIlla and Middlesbrough winger. "I think he's handled it really well under difficult circumstances at times.

"I would love him to stay, which was part of the reason why I came to this club in the first place."

By Jack Pinnock

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