West Ham: Zarate will get "better and better" says Tomkins

By Rob Virtue on August 25, 2014 9:17 AM |


Impressive striker Mauro Zarate adds a much-needed extra ingredient to the West Ham side, according to James Tomkins.

The defender said new signings Cheikhou Kouyate, Aaron Creswell and Zarate have all made significant contributions already, but picked out the Argentine striker for his performance in Saturday's 3-1 win over Crystal Palace, writes Jack Pinnock.

Zarate, Stewart Downing and Carlton Cole grabbed the goals against their London rivals. And it was the movement of the man signed from Velez Sarsfield this summer, which stood out for Tomkins.

"In the first half we gave Mauro a lot of the ball and he was causing trouble for their defence," said Tomkins. "He was picking the ball up in little holes which sometimes we missed last season and that was an impressive thing.

"Fitness was obviously going to make an impact on him today, but when he gets fitter he is going to get better and better. All the signings look good.

"The whole team is looking good and we seem to have a lot of squad depth which is massively important, it was something we lacked last year."

Centre half Tomkins emphasized his delight at the way his teammates responded after last week's London derby defeat at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur, saying it was pivotal to put in a performance worthy of their first three points of the season.

"It was just the way we wanted it," he said. "We started the game so lively and in the first half I thought we were really impressive and it was a real pleasure to be involved. We were 2-0 up and it could have been three or four, it looked like we were going to get more.

"Half-time was good for them because we were getting better and better, then they got the early goal in the second half. I said to the lads in the dressing room that last year we would have probably lost that game or maybe drawn it, so it is a big thing that we have got the third goal to see it out.

"Once you get the points on the board it relaxes the team, until you get it there is always pressure on you if you go two or three games without a win and then you go into the international break with no points. It was a great away victory."

The former England U-21 international, who has 10 caps to his name, almost got on the scoresheet himself, hitting the crossbar with a header from a Stewart Downing corner.

"To be honest, I saw the keeper coming out and I thought he is not going to claim another one because he kept doing it in the first half, picking them up and breaking," said Tomkins.

"He hesitated coming out and I didn't really expect it, but I sort of made impact and I thought it was in, but the bar saved them. 3-0 at that stage and it would have been, game, set and match. But then they have scored and I am thinking at the time, it was down to me.

"But thankfully we got the third goal through Coley and I played a little part in that with the free kick."

Tomkins, who participated in the 2012 Olympic games for Great Britain, was struggling to be fit for this game after he was ruled out of last week's opening day loss against Spurs.

With James Collins suspended, Tomkins heaped praised on the Club's physios for getting match fit for the Palace game.

"It was real touch and go really," he said. "I pulled out the Friday before the Tottenham game and the hamstring injury can put you out for a week or 10 days, so I was always going to be touch and go for this game.

"But the physios have all helped me get fit, light training on Thursday and Friday has done me the world of good.

"It was all good out there. It was my first game and I was cramping up towards the end, but a lot of the lads were like that, the pitch was quite hard and dry. There was a lot of backward running, but I am going to get better with my fitness."

After this important win, it'll be hard for Sam Allardyce to make changes to the squad for the next premier League game at home to Southampton, where the likes of captain Kevin Nolan and James Collins looking to get back into the fold.