(Reuters) - West Ham United's patchy early form has cost them places in the Premier League table and although the club are not in a crisis they must strive to be more consistent, defender Pablo Zabaleta has said.
The London club, who began the campaign with four defeats, appeared to be back on track after victories over Everton and Manchester United on either side of a draw against Chelsea.
However, Manuel Pellegrini's side lost 1-0 to Brighton and Hove Albion last weekend which left them 15th in the standings with seven points from eight matches.
"OK, let's say the situation isn't a crisis but also it's not perfect. The most important thing we can learn from those games is to understand that to become a better team we need to improve our consistency," Zabaleta told the club's website.
"Those dropped points make the difference in the table. If we had three or four more, we'd be a few places higher, six or seven points from the relegation zone and just three or four points from the European positions."
West Ham, who spent most of their last two league campaigns struggling in the bottom half of the table, started poorly as they adapted to new manager Pellegrini's tactics.
They suffered defeats by Liverpool, Bournemouth, Arsenal and promoted Wolverhampton Wanderers before the Chilean manager began to extract the best from his players.
"The worst thing at the start of the season was four defeats in a row... that was probably too much. You never expect to lose the first four games," Zabaleta added.
"I'd like the team to have at least 10 or 11 points by now, because we could have got more from the Bournemouth, Wolves and Brighton games."
West Ham next take on Tottenham Hotspur at home on Oct. 20.
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)