West Ham United defender Aaron Cresswell, has encouraged his teammates to “dust themselves off and go again,” ahead of Saturday’s crucial Premier League trip to the King Power Stadium.
David Moyes’ Hammers face Leicester City off the back of consecutive 4-1 losses, the most recent one being Sunday’s heavy defeat to the champions Manchester City at London Stadium, a week after an away thrashing by Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.
The game is the first of three in the Irons’ relegation run-in, which they head into just three points above the relegation zone in 15th position, hosting Manchester United in their spare game and then welcoming Everton to Stratford on the final day.
Speaking to the club’s Official Website WHUFC.com, Cresswell spoke of how his side are preparing for their next fixture and encouraged his team to move on from the Blue Moon defeat and focus on the challenge of facing Claude Puel’s men.
“We’ve got to focus on ourselves now, we’ve got Leicester this weekend and we need to dust ourselves off, go again, work hard and get ready to face them on Saturday,” stated the former Ipswich Town star.
“All we can do is have a good week in training and put all our focus on our next game. We need to try and stay as positive as we can and go out there and beat Leicester.
“If you look at Leicester, they lost 5-0 on Saturday, but they had a man sent-off at Crystal Palace on Saturday and it changed the game even more. They are still a good team, but we need to go out there and believe we can beat them.”
It may well be a case of two wounded animals faxing off with each other in the East Midlands tomorrow afternoon as Foxes boss Puel finds himself under pressure, despite his men being safe from relegation in ninth.
The Frenchman took over from Craig Shakespeare earlier in the season after a poor start under the Englishman and has taken the club from a possible relegation battle to challenging the likes of Burnley for a place in next term’s Europa League.
However, recent results and performances have turned the heat right up on Puel with the Foxes now without a victory in four in the league and most recently thrashed by the strugglers the Eagles at Selhurst Park as aforementioned.
But, the King Power has been far from a happy hunting ground for the Hammers since it opened in 2002 as they have played there six times and only won once.
That solitary triumph came during the 2011/2012 Npower Championship campaign, but the venue doesn’t house all bad memories for the East Londoners, and especially not Cresswell.
Before netting a superb free-kick consolation in East London on Sunday afternoon against the title-winners, in which he beat the world-class Ederson with a curling set-piece from the edge of the area.
The Merseyside-born star’s last competitive strike in Claret & Blue had come away at Leicester, in a thrilling 2-2 draw at the end of the 2015/2016 season, in which the Foxes beat the odds to become PL champions for the first time in their history.
The strike put the Irons 1-2 up inside the final ten minutes and although they would go on to concede a late Leonardo Ulloa penalty and only came away with a point, it was arguably the best goal of his West Ham career so far.
Cresswell picked up the pieces of a Michail Antonio delivery from the right side, controlled it and smashed a high volley into the far top corner past Kasper Schmeichel.
However, the full-back, who has recently been deployed in a central defensive role under Moyes, isn’t worried about who scores, so long as his team do score, speaking in the same Interview.
“It would be nice to get another goal against them, but it’s not about who scores the goals, but all about the result. I couldn’t care less who scores as long as we get the points.”
The stakes will be very high indeed for the side from East London in Leicestershire and they will very much have their eye on how results are going elsewhere.
A defeat for Cresswell and his comrades could very well see them level on points with a team in the bottom three by the end of the day, making the final two fixtures all the more important and all the more difficult.
But, if they could do something that they have only managed once in 2018 so far, pick up three points on the road in their final away game of the campaign, it could be enough to virtually secure their Premier League status for the 2018/2019 campaign.
The ex-Liverpool youth star is well aware that he and his Hammers side must start picking up points quickly to avoid the drop as the East Londoners sit as closer than they have been to relegation at this stage in a PL season since they were last relegated in 2010/2011.
“I couldn’t tell you the points tally we need to get to but we are certainly not safe now. The Premier League is so unpredictable, so any of the teams around us could pick up points between now and the end of the season.”
The England International continued, “we’ve got three games to go and we’re not going to be negative about anything. We’re going to stay as positive as we can and concentrate on the job in hand.”
You can catch all of our build-up to David Moyes’ West Ham United’s Premier League trip to face Claude Puel’s Leicester City on Saturday afternoon, today and tomorrow here on West Ham Matters as well as all of our reaction to the match early next week, simply stay across our platforms.