Sam Allardyce and his West Ham squad have spent a long weekend in the United Arab Emirates, recovering from 15 matches in all competitions since the league defeat at Chelsea on Boxing Day.
West Ham face the first of their remaining 10 league games at Arsenal on Saturday, and England winger Downing says the Dubai experience was a much-needed addition to their schedule.
???I think it???s good for us to get away at this time of year,??? said Downing. ???A lot of countries do have a winter break, so a couple of days’ rest means we can recover and get ready for the next game.
???I think we needed a break. We had a lot of games with the FA Cup and obviously the Premier League. I hope it will help us to end strongly and do better than we did last year and finish in the top 10 if we can.
???The team bonding part of it is good for the lads and it???s nice for the new boys to get involved with the lads too.???
Downing says that West Ham are determined to achieve a positive result against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium after a 2-1 defeat to Arsene Wenger’s team at Upton Park on December 28.
???We owe them one, as I think we should have beaten them at home,??? he said.
???It???ll be a tough game, but we can go there with confidence because on our day we???re a decent team.???