Hammers ‘refreshed and ready’ for Saints
PUBLISHED: 18:04 19 February 2014 | UPDATED: 23:09 19 February 2014
Guy Demel says West Ham are refreshed after a warm-weather training camp in Dubai and ready to keep their winning run going against Southampton on Saturday.
The Hammers headed to the sunny Middle East for the third year in a row after a superb run of three consecutive 2-0 victories lifted them from the relegation zone and temporarily up to 10th in the Premier League table.
Southampton come to Upton Park on a six-game unbeaten run of their own, but Demel feels West Ham’s trip to Dubai was the perfect way to prepare for a strong finish to the season.
“It was important for the team to go and relax,” said the defender. “You need to because it’s the best league in the world and it’s really demanding.
“Sometimes you just need a few days to relax and have a fresh mind, then you come back and have the energy to finish the season.
“We did it last year and it worked really well so I think it was a great idea. For-team building it’s also really important.”
He added: “Everybody knows that Southampton have had a great season. They are a good team.
“We’re in this situation where we need points, especially at home, and we’re going to try our best to get a result and make sure we stay on track.
“We had a hard start to the season but we’ve started winning games and playing better so we have to make sure the run carries on.”
West Ham have not conceded in their last four games – a run that started with their 0-0 draw at Chelsea last month – and their remarkable tally of 13 clean sheets this season is the best in the top flight.
Demel is delighted to be part of their ever-improving defence, and the Ivory Coast international admits their hard work in training is paying off after a difficult first half of the campaign.
“We performed very well [at the start of the season], but then we didn’t deliver defensively when we needed to,” he added.
“It has been a strange season for us. You need to win games, to get points and we didn’t do that.
“We found ourselves in a critical situation, but we worked hard and got ourselves out of it. Now we have to keep the positive run going forward.
“This season we had some issues with injuries, but when everybody is fit and there in the squad, we have a good side.
“We’ve been working hard, we know each other better and we know what we have to do.”
n Guy Demel was speaking at West Ham’s open training session at Upton Park, where season ticket holders and corporate members were able to watch the first team in action up close.