Hayden's Time To Reflect

AFTER a start to the season that most Hammers fans would have taken before the campaign kicked-off, Hayden Mullins believes Alan Pardew's squad can now use the two-week international break to reflect on their first three games back in the Premiership.

A win, a draw and a defeat is the record so far, four points out of a possible nine and some performances that will give the Hammers faithful heart for the rest of the season.

The 26-year-old midfielder has been impressed with the squad's return to the Premiership, but after a whirlwind few weeks he insists that the break will help the squad to take stock of their achievements.

"It's definitely been an encouraging start," agreed Hayden. "We got a great point up at Newcastle when we were down to 10 men and before that a terrific win over Blackburn that really got things going for us.

"The Bolton game was a bit disappointing. We felt that we played well again in that game, but we had a few chances that we didn't take and they pushed on in the second-half.

"We took positives from that game in that we competed against a very good and experienced Premier League side. But we felt that we deserved at least a draw out of the game and it was tough to come away with nothing.

"That's what the Premiership is all about though. We're going to come up against a lot of good teams this season, and there might be times when we play really well and come away with nothing.

"This is a steep learning curve for the team, but we'll keep digging and plugging away. The important thing is that we keep improving and over the next two weeks it will be a good time for us to take a look at where we are and then make sure we're ready to go again against Aston Villa.

"This is a good time for us to reflect on the start we've made and put in the work so that we are in the position to kick on again.

"It's going to be important for us to get some more points on the board in the run-up to winter and make sure we're in a good position."

Hayden revealed that the defeat to Bolton has not dented confidence among Alan Pardew's squad, but he was also quick to explain that the players are refusing to get carried away with the rave reviews the team has been winning lately.

"Confidence is very high," insisted the former Cyrstal Palace trainee, "as it has been throughout the summer. We have a really strong, tight-knit squad and the manager and staff have to take a lot of credit for that in the way they have brought in players who have fitted in well.

"But we're not getting carried away with things at the moment. We've only had three games and in football things can change very quickly. All we want to do is put in some good work during the time we have off and make sure we're sharp and ready to go against Aston Villa.

"Four points from three games is far from a bad start and we'll definitely be confident going into the next game."

Reading-born and a former England Under-21 international, it's no secret who Hayden will be shouting for in England's World Cup qualifier against Wales this weekend.

"There's been plenty of banter flying around with the Welsh lads," he admitted. "They've gone off to join up with the Wales squad now and I wish them all the best, but hopefully England will do it."