Jussi Jaaskelainen has become something of a terrace hero among the West Ham United supporters during his first season in east London.

The veteran former Finland international was already well-known to his team-mates and Hammers fans alike, having spent 15 seasons between the sticks at Bolton Wanderers.

Arriving at the age of 37 and after a difficult final campaign with Bolton, some fans were concerned that Jaaskelainen's best days were behind him, but the likeable stopper has proven that he is still among the best goalkeepers in the Barclays Premier League.

A campaign that has seen him make numerous outstanding contributions and keep eleven clean sheets was climaxed with a deserved Save of the Season trophy at the 2012/13 Player Awards, which he received from sponsors Thomas Fredrick Willetts Foundation Board member and Trustee Raphael Sukaj.

Added to that, Jaaskelainen was also voted as runner-up to Winston Reid for the prestigious Hammer of the Year award.

Jussi, you must have been shocked to win Save of the Season!

JJ - "I looked in the programme a couple of months ago and I saw there was a Save of the Season award and I thought 'If I can't win that, it's going to be a bit embarrassing'!

"It's nice to make those saves at the right times in games and that's what football is all about. It's up to me to make saves and we have two games to go and if we can finish in the top then, that would be brilliant."

Your winning save was your outstanding fingertip effort to push Gareth Bale's curler onto the crossbar in the 3-2 home defeat by Tottenham Hotspur in February. Was that your own personal save of the season?

JJ - "Erm, I don't know because we lost the game. At the end of the day, I want to make saves when we're winning points and winning games, so that's why I was a bit disappointed because he scored that wonde rgoal afterwards.

"It would have been great to have saved that too and the game would have finished 2-2 and we would have felt a bit better!

"I think that West Brom one from the free-kick [was important], because when you see it back it deflects and comes close enough to me to make the save.

"It's hard to pick a save because I look to keep a consistent level through the season. We have two more games, so hopefully I'll be making some more saves."

Jussi Jaaskelainen

You have kept eleven clean sheets and produced some superb performances during your first season with the Hammers after a difficult final campaign at Bolton, so have you been happy with your contribution?

JJ - "It's the way we set up as a team. That's what Big Sam wants us to do - to go out and keep a clean sheet because it is easier to keep a clean sheet than score a goal in the Premier League. You start from a base so obviously if you keep a clean sheet you get one point. I don't think we've been too negative defensively, but it's a good thing to build on.

"I don't really read or think about what anybody else is thinking. I just try to work as hard as I can and, if I get a chance to play on Saturday, I want to do my best. In my career, I've been lucky enough to play many years in the Premier League as a No1. I missed six months last season, so it's great to be here and back playing.

"I want to thank Big Sam because I have worked with him in the past and I know his backroom staff are great and he has given me the best possible opportunity to make those saves because of the way he looks after his players."

You look as if you have enjoyed life at West Ham this term?

JJ - "I try to keep myself calm and collected because I don't want to get too high when we're winning or playing well or too low when things go against you.

"After every game, I just make sure that I prepare properly for the next one because, at the end of the day, everybody makes mistakes and it can cost you. If I do my best during the week, whatever happens, happens - that's the way I always think."

Finally, you have won over even the most sceptical of fans with your performances. Presumably you want to be West Ham's No1 again in 2013/14?

JJ - "Of course I want to carry on, but now we all start again in pre-season. We all start on the same line and I want to work my way into the team again when the first Premier League game of next season starts.

"Like I said, if people doubted me then there's nothing I can do. That's why football is great, because everybody has their opinions and sometimes they are wrong and sometimes they are right. As a person, I just want to enjoy my football and do my best."

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