Steve: Competition Is Key

Steve Bywater reckons competition for places has raised the performance levels at West Ham in recent weeks - and he welcomes that.

"There is a good young squad here and I think that is down to the competition amongst the players - you know you have to do well when you play or you will be out of the team."

Steve himself faces a battle with James Walker - West Ham's Carling Cup keeper - for a place between the sticks, and he adds:

"It helps me and everyone - it is good to have that, but it is not pressure because you enjoy playing, and if you weren't you'd be gutted."

Looking at the win over Gillingham, and the goal conceded just before half time, Steve says:

"It is just one of those things; I am just looking for results and three points is more important to me than a clean sheet, which is a bonus.

"We are on a run at the moment and hopefully we can continue that on Saturday and Tuesday with big away games.

"That is when you can nick a few points - it is a lot of travelling but it has got to be done.

"I am enjoying my football and Ludo has helped me a lot."

Speaking ahead of the Chelsea clash, he adds:

"It is no different from any other game - it is a cup one, a London derby, and obviously they are technically superior to us because they have got the best players around - but if the lads give 100% I am sure they will do well.

"Whoever turns out it will be a good side and the lads are up for it."

He will be able to meet up again with former colleagues Frank Lampard, Joe Cole, and Glen Johnson, and he says:

"I haven't spoken to any of them but I will see them after the game; it is a business, though, and you need to win for yourself, the club, and your fans.

"We will go out there and give it our best and hope that is good enough - it is good for the lads to compare themselves with the best and there is no need to be overawed.

"Even if they are worth a lot of money, that doesn't necessarily mean they have got the passion to play on a Wednesday night against a lower division team."