Cresswell hails ‘warrior’ Collins

Aaron Cresswell hailed ‘warrior’ James Collins after the Wales defender put in a typically selfless performance at Swansea City.

Collins ended the afternoon with a large bump on his head and most likely a few bruises after blocking a succession of Swansea shots to help earn his side a goalless Barclays Premier League draw.

Cresswell had a grandstand view of the No19’s all-action display and could not hide his respect for his teammate’s resilient display.

“You know what you’re getting with Ginge – he’ll give you 110 per cent week-in, week-out,” said the left-back. “He has been fantastic for us when he has stepped in and I thought he was fantastic and arguably our best player. He’s a warrior at the back.”

West Ham were held to a record third straight goalless Premier League draw at the Liberty Stadium, where injuries to key attackers left Slaven Bilic without Dimitri Payet, Manuel Lanzini, Andy Carroll, Victor Moses, Diafra Sakho and also centre-half Winston Reid.

While there was some frustration that the Hammers were unable to overcome a Swansea team which started the day in the relegation zone, Cresswell was keen to point out that there are no easy games in the top flight this season.

“It was obviously a tough game. Most teams will take a point coming away from home in the Premier League and if you’d said to us at the start of the season that we’d draw at Manchester United and Swansea, I think we’d have taken it.

“In a way, we’re disappointed as well. Don’t get me wrong, they’ve had chances as well, but we’ve kept three clean sheets in the last three games, which is a positive, so we’ll take the positives and we’ll move on to the next one.

“We’ve had a few chances in the last few games and we just need to take a few of them. We’ll just get ourselves together again and prepared for Aston Villa next week.

“It just shows you the squad we have got this season has real depth. Dimi and Manu have arguably been our two main players this season, so we’re looking forward to them coming back, but we’ve got a good squad here and got a good point in the end.”

Next up for Cresswell and company is a Boxing Day trip to bottom side Aston Villa on Boxing Day, when the Hammers will be confident of ending their seven-match winless run.

The No3 revealed the squad will be training on Christmas Day before travelling to Birmingham, ensuring no stone is left unturned in their preparations.

“We are going to prepare ourselves the best we can for the fixtures we’ve got coming up over the next ten days or so. It’s hard when you’ve got to play three games in seven days, but we won’t use that as an excuse.

“We’re going to be prepared and ready for those three games. We’ve got to be professional and it’s part and parcel of the job and we’ve just got to get on with it.

“To be fair, I’ve always trained on Christmas Day every year apart from last year, and we’ll get on with it and prepare as best we can.

“You can’t go into any game thinking it’s going to be an easy three points, even if you’re one of the top teams. The league has been crazy this year and you can see anyone can beat anyone.

“We’re fully aware that it’s not going to be an easy ride so we’re going to prepare for Villa and do the best we can.”