Struggling Swansea City slumped to a third consecutive loss as West Ham United moved well clear of the Premier League relegation zone with a comfortable 4-1 victory at the Liberty Stadium on Monday.
Swansea’s porous defence was again their Achilles heel as they conceded three or more goals for the fifth time in their last six league games to take their goals against total to 41.
Only Rotherham, who prop up the Championship, have conceded more in the top two divisions.
It was the same old story for Bob Bradley’s second-from-bottom side as they enjoyed their fair share of possession but looked vulnerable whenever the ball entered their area.
To rub salt in the wounds West Ham’s opener after 13 minutes was scored by former Swansea player Andre Ayew after a mistake by keeper Lukasz Fabianski.
Gylfi Sigurdsson’s free kick was the closest Swansea came before the break and West Ham doubled their advantage in the 50th minute when defender Winston Reid met Dimitri Payet’s corner with a header that gave Fabianski no chance.
Michail Antonio put the result beyond doubt when he turned in Havard Nordtveit’s shot and although Fernando Llorente grabbed a consolation for the hosts there was still time for Andy Carroll to embellish a third consecutive win for the Hammers who are now safely in mid-table.
Inevitable boos rang around the Liberty Stadium at the final whistle and American Bradley admitted his side had it all to do.
“That was a tough afternoon in all ways,” he said.
”You saw a team who have gone through a period where nothing goes right and today was more of the same.
“At the moment we are our own worst enemy. No matter what we do, we seem to put ourselves in terrible spots, and getting away from that is hard work,” he added.
“After 18 games we are in a very difficult position, but that leaves us 20 games to fight to stay up and to win back the supporters.”
Bradley can take heart from the turnaround at West Ham since the start of the month when Slaven Bilic’s side were hammered 5-1 at home by Arsenal and were sliding towards a relegation battle.
They have since taken 10 points from a possible 12.
“It was a shame to concede because it would have been nice to get three clean sheets in a row but it was a very good performance from us,” Bilic said.
“Even before we scored it looked like we were going to hurt them.”
Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Ed Osmond