Steve: Fitness Told

Steve Bywater believes that superior fitness helped West Ham get three points on a hot day in Stoke at the weekend.

Sports scientist Tony Strudwick has been brought in by Alan Pardew and now Alex Dyer is on board as well to assist him.

Steve feels the players are seeing the benefit of the changes and says:

"We looked strong - and fitter than them, as well," says Steve.

"We were playing the ball about and they had to do a lot of running.

"Hopefully we can carry it on to the next two games and then the playoffs.

"Alan said 'well done' to us after the game and to make sure we rested up properly."

Was it one of the best performances of the season?

"We did really well, but no disrespect to Stoke, against a better team you could have judged how good it was - they didn't seem to get the ball much," he says.

"And it doesn't matter about other sides winning if we keep doing it ourselves."

It is two games on the trot without conceding for Steve, and he says:

"It was a clean sheet like the week before so we are happy about that. It was quite hot out there but I felt the lads were terrific, Melville in particular.

"I thought, with Christian Dailly, he was man of the match. The defence was solid, nothing seemed to go past them, and the lads up front just expressed their stuff.

"The manager said at half time we had to score another goal to kill the game and that is what we did, although I felt we were under pressure in the first 10 minutes of both halves - and dealt with it."

Is he aware of how many shutouts he has achieved since taking over from David James 20 games ago?

"I don't know and I am not really bothered at this stage," he insists.

[The answer is a healthy seven].

"I am just trying to do my bit for the lads, the manager, and the whole club and try and get us promoted."

Alan Pardew is not thinking about dropping any more points in the last two games, and says:

"I've no idea how many points we will need to get into the play-offs; we are in the driving seat, though, and have to be super positive going into next week's game against Watford."