Downes gets back to basics at West Ham

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The Independent Football

West Ham United's new defence coach, Wally Downes, has lifted the lid on his safety-first approach, which appears to have kick-started the club's mini-revival.

The Hammers have won both their games emphatically since the arrival of Downes, whose appointment came in the wake of the sacking of assistant manager Zeljko Petrovic just over a week ago.

West Ham, who are still bottom of the Premier League, scored seven goals and conceded just one over the course of Saturday's League victory over Wigan and Tuesday's Carling Cup mauling of Manchester United.

Downes has been credited by defender Jonathan Spector with being the inspiration behind the improvement, but the former Reading coach insists there is nothing magical about his contribution. "If the ball is there, you have to get rid of it," Downes told the club's website.

"There's no value to overcomplicating things in your own final third. I like to play football in the opposition's half. That's where the damage is caused, so the more you can keep it away from your keeper the better."

Downes revealed how he arrived at Upton Park to find a squad desperate to atone for their 3-0 defeat at Liverpool days earlier. "The lads have all pulled together and wanted to get that Liverpool result out of their systems," he said. "They have responded to everything we have said to them since and when you put your all in, in training and in the games, you get results.

West Ham will look to record a third straight win for the first time in almost two years when they travel to Sunderland on Sunday.

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