With so many fans, players and ex players claiming that the fourth Champions League place is ours for the taking, it is nice to see some realism from the man who has helped massively to get to us to where we are in the Premier League.
West Ham superstar Dimitri Payet has played down our chances of finishing fourth and securing Champions League football for next season.
In an interview on The Club’s Official Website, Payet was asked whether we can finish in the top four. His reply was “It will be very tough but finishing in the top five will be a great season for us”. Payet went on to say that it would guarantee European football for next year and would be a big step for the club.
This can be taken two ways for West Ham fans.
By playing down hopes of getting into the Champions League, Payet has urged fans not to be disappointed if it doesn’t happen, and it also relieves any pressure on the players. They can try and play football and win matches for the rest of the season without being weighed down by big game pressure and must win matches every week. If we play well enough to creep in, it would be outrageously good. However, we don’t want to have a mentality that it is anything like West Ham’s to lose, we are the dark horses and want to keep it that way.
Payet’s quote could also be seen as negative though. He wants to secure fifth place above Manchester United (Or Manchester City) but is wary of the other teams around. Payet seems to be suggesting we should be looking over our shoulders a little bit rather than looking up the table.
Payet does go on to mention the FA Cup replay against Manchester United. He claimed that “the whole group is very focused on that match as well” and wants to get the club to the final and beyond.
The Frenchman appears to have his sights set on a FA Cup triumph along with a fifth place finish that would secure Europa League football. The club is already attracting big players, and there is time for us to make the Champions League next year if we don’t quite make it this season.
By playing down our expectations, it has relieved the pressure on the players and reduced the expectancy from the fans which can only be a good thing for West Ham for the remainder of a fantastic season.