CONFIDENCE played a vital role in West Ham United's promotion triumph, according to full-back Chris Powell.
The former England defender believes a bubbling team spirit over the final weeks of the season was an integral part of Hammers success, and the experienced 35-year-old is backing that same self-belief to help West Ham in the opening weeks of the Premiership.
"This summer will have been fantastic for all the lads," he explained. "We're all on a high after promotion and that will carry through right into pre-season and the start of the new campaign.
"It was a long season and with the added toll of the Play-offs the lads will be needing a good break right now. But the squad will come back refreshed and ready, with the thought that we are playing in the Premiership in little more than a month's time.
"With that in mind you can't fail to enjoy this summer. But it's not just the players. The fans will be loving this too. They've been waiting for this moment for the last two years and now they can celebrate the fact that they will be watching Premiership football at Upton Park again next season."
The experienced defender also believes that Alan Pardew's squad could well surprise a few people in the Premier League.
"There is a lot of confidence around the Club at the moment," he said, "and we've got to use that to our advantage when the new season starts.
"The start of the season is going to be huge for the Club, everyone from the players and staff to the fans have been waiting for the moment when West Ham United is back in the Premier League.
"Those first few games are going to be crucial, because any newly promoted team has to be looking for a strong start to help them find their feet."
A top-flight player for almost ten consecutive years, Chris is well-placed to assess how Hammers will fare in the Premier League next season.
"It will be important for the players to adjust quickly to the Premier League," he said. "But West Ham seem to have always raised our game for the big occasions in the past and have done particularly well against the Premiership teams we've played over the past season.
"It's going to be tough, but there is a lot of belief in this squad and we'll just have to wait and see what the fixture list throws up for the first games of the season."
Chris' Confident Approach