Fan's column: Do West Ham start dreaming about Champions League?
- Credit: PA
With 13 games to go we occupy the last Champions League spot. At the same stage last season our sole aim was staying up… a lot can change in 12 months.
The win over Spurs was magnificent; the grit, determination and character on display was beyond measure. The second half was a difficult watch with Tottenham relentlessly attacking in a breath-taking display of their firepower, but we stood firm.
Possession counts for little in this game. To quote Jose Mourinho after Spurs defeated Manchester City in earlier in the season: "They can take the ball home, I take the three points."
With the Lilywhites firmly in our rearview mirror the question turns to can we hang onto fourth spot? Or maybe even hunt down Leicester and Manchester United?
On the one hand we have a difficult run of fixtures with three members of the so called "big six" on the horizon, not to mention Bielsa’s Leeds, a resurgent Wolves and fellow top four hopefuls Leicester.
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Our ability to pick up points in those fixtures will ultimately determine whether we will be fighting for top four, or top six when we get to single figure games.
However, given that at the start of the season we came through a similarly difficult run with points on the board - and whenever we’ve lost we’ve bounced back straight away - we can go into this tricky run of games with genuine optimism.
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One advantage we do have - and old Mourinho alluded to it in his pre-match quotes when he attempted to downplay the fact that a side that we were relegation fodder last season and were outperforming his expensively assembled squad of "stars" - is that we don’t have European football, but our competitors do.
We have 13 games to go and can focus solely on the league with more or less one game a week till the end of the season; whereas Man United, Liverpool, Leicester and Chelsea all have other commitments.
Their squads will be stretched, they’ll have less time to prepare for league games, fatigue will set in, injuries will pile up and that will give us a distinct advantage as the season reaches its climax.
Do we dare dream of Champions League football? Yes, why not?