Collison hoping for Villa thriller

Jack Collison is already looking ahead to Saturday's game with Aston Villa and beyond, boosted by the performance and result at Chelsea.

The compact nature of the Christmas fixture list means West Ham United entertain Villa on Saturday, then travel to Portsmouth on Boxing Day before playing host to Stoke City two days later. The central midfielder believes Sunday's draw at Stamford Bridge will have given the whole squad renewed belief going into the busy schedule.

"We came away with a good point on Sunday and we can take a lot of positives from that into our next game at home to Aston Villa," Collison said. "We wanted to pick ourselves up after the Tottenham game, when we were very disappointed with the result.

"I think the performance we put in against Chelsea can help us kick-start, turn things around and we can look to get back to positive ways at home again. When you come to a place like Stamford Bridge, there is pressure to soak up, but you will always get a chance, so maybe at times you ride your luck, but I thought the boys stood solid and we dug in and produced a real good team display."

At Stamford Bridge, United were just that. The back four threw themselves in the way of everything the hosts tried, while Collison and his fellow midfielders constantly hounded and harried their opposite numbers at every opportunity. "I thought all the lads were outstanding, no one player stood out and it was a real team effort. Everyone dug in and we so very nearly nicked it a the end, with Carlton Cole going close. When they got a goal back, we weren't disheartened as there was still a lot of time left. I was cramping up a little bit at the end but wanted, like everyone else, to keep going, because we knew we could see it out if we did."

The Wales international seemed completely undaunted by the occasion, which was even more impressive considering Chelsea's midfield featured international stars Michael Ballack, Deco and Frank Lampard. Collison, making his fifth appearance of the season, simply rolled up his sleeves and got on with his job.

"Every opportunity I am given out there on the pitch, I try and take it and show the manager what I am about. He has shown confidence in me already, I haven't had that many chances of late but now it is up to me to show what I can do, work hard and keep on impressing him."

The 20-year-old started in a slightly wider role than usual, filling in on the right-hand side of midfield and grew in stature as the match went on, putting in a host of customary robust challenges while showing a real calmness when in possession of the ball.

"It is part of my game, I like to cover as much ground as possible and I really enjoy playing like that - it was great out there, Valon was the same, you could see from his performance, he was another of the boys who ran literally miles, so everyone was doing as much as they could."