ANGEL Rangel reckons Swansea City were the better side on Saturday — but that this time West Ham's long-ball tactics prevailed.
Swansea's visit to East London provided a clash of football cultures as Michael Laudrup's passing purists took on a powerful team looking to play the percentages.
The hosts were on top for most of the contest in which an attack spearheaded by towering striker Andy Carroll caused Swansea problems.
His knock-downs had created other West Ham chances before the England international scored the game's only goal in the 77th minutes.
"I thought in the first half we did well. We defended well and they only had a few chances," said Rangel.
"Probably, we lacked that last pass in the final third. We didn't create as much as we sometimes do.
"Sometimes you are unfortunate up front.
''We had chances but just didn't take them. It's been a long time without a defeat and sometimes in football that happens.
"To be fair, we're unhappy, but sometimes you have to accept it.
"The best team didn't win on Saturday, their style of football won on the day.
"It's not easy to defend when they have so many big players.
''They didn't play better than us, but they got the result and that's all that matters."
The defeat was only Swansea's second in 12 games and their first league reverse since losing at Spurs on December 16.
Laudrup's men struggled to create chances before West Ham scored, but carved out a couple in the closing stages.
First Nathan Dyer's shot caused panic in the home penalty area, then Chico Flores sent a dangerous header across goal.
"It was one of those games when the game was well open for the teams in the last 15 minutes," said Rangel.
"We were unfortunate to concede the goal, especially from a set-piece, but Carroll in the air is strong like that.
"They lived off long balls to Carroll. We did well until the last 15 minutes. They scored and we had a couple of good chances at the end, but to we have to accept the defeat."
Danny Graham's transfer deadline day departure to Sunderland has left Michu shouldering even more attacking responsibility.
Swansea's 16-goal top scorer failed to find the net for a sixth consecutive match, but Rangel insists that is nothing to worry about.
"He's not going to score every game. He'd be worth £100 million if he did," said the right-back.
"He's only a human being and he's been great for us.
"As a striker, you have good days and bad days."
Swansea's other striking options were kept in reserve in the East End, with Itay Shechter and Luke Moore starting on the bench.
Moore was introduced late on and caused West Ham some problems.
"Throughout the season, goals have come from different players," added Rangel. "Luke came on for the last 20 minutes and that's not easy when you're losing and chasing the game.
"He did great, he had a chance and he did well.
"We haven't been relying on Michu's goals, although probably they have been the difference for Swansea.
"We've got so many players who can score goals so I think we can score many."