After a punishing schedule of three games in a week, Hammers midfielder Gary O'Neil has been glad of the opportunity to prepare more normally for Saturday's trip to Manchester City.

West Ham had to take on Southampton, Manchester United and Wigan Athletic all in the space of eight days, and despite the taxing run, Sam Allardyce's men came out of the sequence with five points.

They now have a five-game unbeaten run to protect, so former Portsmouth man O'Neil is full of confidence going into the season's finishing straight.

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He told West Ham TV: "Three games in a week like that is tough on the legs and tough mentally as well, getting yourself up, down, and then back up again.

"So to keep the unbeaten run going was really important. Manchester City will be a tough one at the weekend but we're looking forward to the last few games of the season.

"It's nice to be able to look up without having to worry about what's behind you at all. We're looking forward to seeing if we can finish in the top ten.

"City are out of the title race now, so hopefully that'll make it slightly easier for us. It's a tough place to go, but we have been a little more solid on the road recently so hopefully that can continue."

Following an eye-catching performance against the champions Manchester United, the Hammers had to show a different side to their game to grind out the result against Wigan - but O'Neil didn't mind that.

He added: "The way Wigan play maybe made it look more frustrating than it was. They had the ball a lot, but they do leave themselves open at the back. We managed to capitalise on that twice and do our job without the ball.

"If they want to keep the ball all game without really hurting us then that's fine. We managed to punish them twice and it was a big three points for us."

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