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Feeble Hammers must learn lessons fast

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Hammers must learn lessons

I was surprised to see how easily West Ham were bullied by Bristol City in today’s FA Cup game at The London Stadium.

Perhaps we’ve become soft after years in the Premier League and, in more recent times, under the protection of video referees. There is little doubt in my mind that the 1-1 draw with Bristol City was a throwback to the sort of physical encounters we no longer see at the top level.

The confrontation was not unfamiliar to me as a man approaching my 50th year. So, I found myself surprised at how few of The Hammers’ players seemed willing to match their Championship counterparts physicality. In the Premier League, Vladimir Coufal is a lion, but on this occasion, he turned into a feeble pussycat.

Speaking of which, Kurt Zouma did not cover himself in glory either, considering he is the captain. Where was the leadership and attrition?

Tommy Conway fired Bristol City ahead in the FA Cup as the Championship team bullied West Ham

Hammers must learn lessons from the way Bristol City played

Not everyone was guilty of shirking battle, of course. Jarrod Bowen showed what a quality operator he is, as well as putting in maximum effort. Meanwhile, Edson Alvarez seemed affronted by the assault on his teammates and at least tried to counter their aggression.

Bristol softened us up, then went for the jugular with fast football in the second half, and it very nearly worked. But West Ham should have been better prepared for it. I wonder if the players had bought into this talk of a few days’ rest ahead of the Sheffield United game on January 21st?

They won’t get it now, of course, not with an FA Cup replay sandwiched in between now and then. Hopefully, the team will know what to expect now… there really can’t be any excuses.

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Hammers Chat video blogger @Gonzobignose