July 23 2014 Latest news:
Dave Evans, West Ham Correspondent
Thursday, July 3, 2014
Hammers captain Kevin Nolan thinks they would have been in top half last season had it not been for injuries
We are barely into July, but West Ham are back in training and already skipper Kevin Nolan is being quizzed about the team’s Premier League prospects.
The owners have demanded a top-10 finish this term and Nolan believes that is a very reachable goal for the Hammers.
“That doesn’t put any pressure on us because we believe that’s where we belong,” said the 32-year-old goalscorer.
“If we had our full strength side last year, week in week out, instead of a few weeks here and there because if injuries, I think we would have been in the top 10 without a shadow of a doubt.
“That sort of thing doesn’t faze me at all, it doesn’t scare me.”
West Ham flirted with the relegation zone last season, but Nolan is convinced that with a fit squad there will be none of that this time round.
“First and foremost we have six or seven weeks of hard work to make sure we are ready and raring to go,” he insisted.
“I think it is important for us all because we definitely underachieved last season with the squad that we had, but there were mitigating circumstances.”
The team travelled to France today (Friday) for a week of intense training and Nolan is determined that they are ready for their first game of the season against Spurs.
“To be honest I couldn’t believe it when that fixture came out. All the texts I received on the day they came out were unbelievable,” said Nolan.
“It just gets you all excited, it gets everyone up for it and everyone is talking about it already.
“We beat them three times last year and we’ve got to make it four in a row, but they are under a new era themselves so it is going to be interesting to see how they match up to us on the first day.”
West Ham will be hoping that returning early while many of their rivals have players still at the World Cup will work in their favour.
If that is the case and the Hammers are raring to go while Tottenham come in undercooked, then it will all be worthwhile.