'Season starts now', says Neill

Lucas Neill said West Ham United will be doing all they can to treat the return to action next Saturday at Fulham as the chance to start the final push this season.

With 13 games remaining, the captain believed the weekend break has afforded everyone at the club "a great time to put a line through everything and "recharge the batteries". He added: "The best way to look at it now is to start our season from when we get back.

"We have got 13 games left, how many can we win, how far can it take us. Let's forget about everything that has happened and hope that we have got an 80 to 90 per cent squad fit to choose from and start the season now." The club are more than secure in mid-table on 37 points but Neill said as well as looking up there was a need to be mindful of the teams pushing hard in the bottom half of the table.

"We have to keep a small eye on our rivals Tottenham now who seem to be gaining momentum and seem to be getting things right," he explained. "They are only five points behind as a result of our last two performances and not picking up enough points. We don't want to drop out of the top ten, that is the first thing." That said, the emphasis is on the other end of the table. "We have lost opportunities but there is still the opportunity to strive for fifth or sixth place."

Neill had sympathy with fans who have been disappointed with the 1-0 defeat at Wigan Athletic and the 1-1 home draw with Birmingham City that preceded the extended break from action. "We have come along way since last year. As exciting as last year was, this year we are winning games for different reasons and we know that teams are going to make it really hard for us.

"It is a back-handed compliment to us that teams are going to come and try to frustrate and as a result we might not be able to play that freeflowing football we probably haven't played enough of this season. The fans have been fantastic all season and we need them. We ask for them to get behind us even in the frustrating time."

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