West Ham turn to focus against a tough EFL Cup clash with Chelsea FC on Wednesday on the back of two Premier League victories – but no convincing answers.
Both those victories – against Crystal Palace and at home against Sunderland – were ground out from standing starts. Good for three points, bad for signs that West Ham are a team to watch, stress-free.
Saturday’s last-gasp winner against a side that is bound for relegation was another trial for visitors to the London Stadium, some of whom had left by the time defender Winston Reid netted the winner deep into injury time.
However, manager Slaven Bilic will take a victory – and clean sheet – if it instils in his players a sense of belief.
He told the club’s website : “We are coming out of it, and it’s a massive goal for us going into Wednesday’s game against Chelsea.
“We can’t say that it changes everything, but in the situation that we were – even though we are talking early days – to have six points now and two clean sheets is great.
“Some of the players are in much better shape after their injuries and especially getting a win at the end of the game gives you an unbelievable boost.
“We are going to be less tired on Monday now than if it had been 0-0. We can’t wait for the game against Chelsea. It’s a good position to be in.
“We got ourselves in a bad position and we got ourselves out into a better position. We need to build on this and a few more of these before we are completely out.”
We will prepare for Chelsea
Italian defender Angelo Ogbonna faces his old boss Antonio Conte in the EFL Cup and takes heart from the back-to-back clean sheets.
He told the club’s website : “If we keep this level of performance it will be good for us. Step-by-step, the Premier League is a really tough league, so we have to be focused.
“I am looking forward to playing Chelsea on Wednesday. We are playing in front of our fans, so the expectation will be high and we will prepare well.
“I have a really good relationship with Antonio Conte, but this is football and I will put that to one side on Wednesday.”
Chelsea on fire
Chelsea themselves are on a high after a 4-0 rout of Manchester Utd, devastating Jose Mourinho, formerly the Special One of Stamford Bridge but now just an also ran.
The Red Devils are below par in seventh but Antonio Conte's Blues are looking strong again after a short stutter and move into the promotion places in fourth, only one point behind the top three teams who are have 20 points.
Antonio Conte will be looking for silverware in his first season and with Manchester City the favourites for the Premier League title, his best avenue to a cup is via the knock-out competitions.