Fan's column: Fantastic display from West Ham away to leaders Man City

Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus during the Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester. P

Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus on the ball during Saturday's game. - Credit: PA

The performance against Manchester City was magnificent, we matched the best side in the country and gave them arguably the hardest test of their 20-game winning streak.

The defeat, though disappointing, can only strengthen belief among fans and players alike that this team can finish in the top four;  providing we can maintain this level of performance and avoid injuries to key personnel. 

For far too long we’ve seen West Ham sides rock up to homes of the "big six" and just get battered for 90 minutes. This was simply not the case at the Etihad.

Defensively we looked solid, going forward we carried a threat and we were in the game right up until Issa Diop missed that crucial header in injury time.

We can take pride in that performance, we’re a good side and yes Champions League football is a realistic aim.

Manchester City's Sergio Aguero (centre) and West Ham United's Vladimir Coufal (right) battle for th

Sergio Aguero and West Ham's Vladimir Coufal (right) battle for the ball. - Credit: PA

The narrative in the media at the moment seems to revolve around "West Ham are doing well because there are no fans in the stadium". This sentiment only serves to undermine the incredible job done by David Moyes, his coaching staff and the players. Credit should be given without the constant caveat.

With 12 games to go we’re fourth and results over the weekend concerning the top four runners and riders were mixed. 

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Leicester and Manchester United are still within striking distance, the former now have an unforgiving injury list at the worst possible time; with the likes of James Maddison, Harvey Barnes and Jonny Evans facing spells on the sidelines.

However, Liverpool and Spurs are breathing down our necks; the Reds can overtake us if they beat Chelsea in their next fixture, while a point for the Blues will move them above us on goal difference. 

Meanwhile Tottenham could be just three points behind us by the time we kick off against Leeds on Monday night.

The pressure is on, but this is pressure we should relish. We’re the underdog, we’re not supposed to be here and yet we are. If we miss out on a seat at the top table it’s not the end of the world. But it is for the sides we’re competing with.

Manchester City's Kyle Walker (right) and West Ham United's Jesse Lingard battle for the ball during

Kyle Walker and Jesse Lingard battle for the ball. - Credit: PA

Europe will be a big factor in this race with Liverpool, Spurs, Chelsea and Manchester United still in continental competitions. That gives us, Leicester and Everton a huge advantage as we head into single figure games.

There will be more twists and turns as this season reaches its climax. It’s a lot more exciting fighting for fourth, than fourth from bottom.