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Diop his own biggest critic?

Filed: Wednesday, 21st November 2018
By: Staff Writer

Issa Diop has impressed everyone since moving to London during pre-season - everyone except himself, it would seem.

For the West Ham United and France Under 21 star claimed on Wednesday that he had not been performing to the best of his abilities since arriving in London, despite striking up a promising partnership with Fabien Balbuena at the heart of the Hammers defence.

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And that is as a result of the number of goals West Ham have conceded this season - a total of 18 in United's opening 12 Premier League matches. "Iíve not played well," Diop told the club's website.

"I need to improve and I hope I improve quickly. Maybe people have said I have been impressive, but we've conceded too many goals. For me I know I can do more and I can play better."

And one of Diop's key motivations is the opportunity to emulate several of his peers who have already gone on to appear - and flourish - in the senior French national team.

"I want to play in France's first team one day and I hope I can do this with West Ham," he said. "I played through the age group sides with Dembele, Rabiot, Mbappe etc.

"Mbappe is very quick. Sometimes I won the battle, sometimes not. He is very smart. He has all the qualities of a big player. If you make just one mistake itís a goal. I am happy for them all, but I also want to play with them in the France team."

West Ham have failed to keep a clean sheet in all but two of their 15 outings in league and cup so far this season - those coming against Macclesfield and Chelsea, both of which Diop featured in.

The Hammers have conceded a total of 22 goals in all competitions, at an average of 1.47 goals per match.

* Diop's defensive partner Fabian Balbuena helped Paraguay to a 1-1 international friendly draw with South Africa on Tuesday evening.

The central defender earned his eighth cap for his country as they held Bafana Bafana in the Nelson Mandela Challenge match at Moses Mabhida Stadium.

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