West Ham United return from their week of warm-weather training in Dubai on Friday and Matt Taylor is convinced they will be refreshed and ready to go for the London derby with Tottenham Hotspur on 25 February.

The Hammers flew out to the Middle East Emirate straight after last Sunday's game at Aston Villa, just as they did at a similar time last year before their successful promotion push.

Taylor was part of the squad that helped secure that Play-Off success and he is ready to push on again over the final 12 games of this campaign.


He told whufc.com: "I think the trip has been beneficial for the team. It was nice to get away from the weather here and get the sun on our backs, but most importantly it was to keep the team together. We've got over two weeks between games and maybe there's the chance for some downtime but it's imperative that we focus on our next game.

"We're hoping for the same effect as last year. It's something the manager has always done throughout his career with his teams and if he continues to do it, he must believe that it works. The proof is in the pudding.

"We've got a difficult period of fixtures coming up and we've just to make sure that we continue to put in performances like we did last Sunday, only put the ball in the back of the net when we've got chances. Ultimately goals win games and we didn't get enough of them at Villa."

Taylor felt the Hammers may have been rewarded more greatly for their efforts at Villa Park last weekend, after weathering an early storm from Paul Lambert's men and growing into the contest.

He continued: "Aston Villa started the game extremely well and in the first 20 minutes they put us under a lot of pressure, but we came into the game a lot more towards the end of the first half.

"We came out strongly in the second half and probably didn't make the pressure and chances count by scoring. In the end, we've been punished first of all by a penalty and then by a fantastic free kick. We still had chances to get a point after that, but I think frustrating is the word to describe last Sunday.

"In the Premier League it's so difficult to win football matches, but to win football matches you've got to score goals. First half we limited them to a few opportunities - the best one they had was inside the first couple of minutes but we weathered the storm and got better.

"The half time team talk was a positive one because we thought we were in a good position. You get punished at this level for mistakes and that's what happened on Sunday.

"Every time you don't win a football match in the Premier League it's an opportunity missed. That was a great win for Aston Villa and you could see at the end the euphoria around the ground for them. For us it was disappointing, because we felt that we dominated the game for large spells and should have taken something from it."

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