The Frenchman has been deadly at set-pieces for club and country this season.

Dimitri Payet has revealed the secret to his incredible free-kick success rate.

West Ham’s gifted midfielder said: “I worked on it, until I scored the first one.

“When the first one went in, I stopped because I felt I’d found the right technique.

“You already have the shot – it’s about the steps and the way you take it. As soon as I worked that out, it’s been the same story since.”

Frenchman Payet, who has scored 12 goals for the Hammers this season, went on: “You have to score, but there’s a goalkeeper, a wall and more pressure than in training. It’s another side to my game and I’m happy about it.”

James Tomkins, meanwhile, has made it clear that the time for any self-pity at West Ham is over.

The central defender revealed that the 2-1 FA Cup quarter-final defeat against Manchester United on Wednesday left him devastated.

“I had trouble sleeping that night,” said Tomkins. “And it affected me the day after as well. But, in football, you can’t think too much about your last game. It always has to be a case of looking forward.”

And West Ham still have the considerable incentive of bringing Champions League football to the Olympic Stadium next season.

But the next barrier before them is a considerable one – Premier League leaders Leicester at the King Power Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

“You can’t feel sorry for yourself when you are playing Leicester away,” said Tomkins. “Everyone has to be up for that.”

West Ham will need no reminding of the quality Leicester have, after Claudio Ranieri’s men recorded two 2-1 wins against West Ham already this season – at Upton Park in the Premier League back in August and at the King Power in the Capital One Cup the following month.

But it is the home defeat in the league which lingers in the memory of Tomkins.

West Ham had beaten Arsenal at the Emirates on the opening weekend and were confident.

“At the time, we thought it was a match from which we should have got more,” said Tomkins.

But Leicester – and Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy as tormentors-in-chief – had other ideas.

Tomkins added: “You are playing Leicester at home at the start of the season, thinking, ‘We need to get maximum points here’. As it has turned out, they have gone on to achieve what they have achieved by being top of the table.

“They are the best team we have played this year.

“The way they played against us at Upton Park was phenomenal. We turned around and thought ‘Wow!’.

“They have gone on from there – and we owe them one at their place.”


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