One player who did not want the last season to end was West Ham United striker Elliot Lee.
The 20-year-old forward came off the bench to make his second Barclays Premier League appearance as the Hammers closed the campaign at Newcastle United, and with the new year about to kick-off he is looking to continue that progress.
West Ham begin with a UEFA Europa League first qualifying round tie against FC Lusitans at home on Thursday with Lee hoping to make his mark.
He explained: “It’s a cliché but it was a dream come true to come on at St James’ Park. I used to watch my dad there all the time, so it was a brilliant feeling getting on there.
“My main aim now is to push on this season and build from that. I only had a week’s holiday and the rest of the time I’ve been training trying to get myself fit as I can be to impress the new Gaffer.
“It was a really positive thing that I got on at the end of last season so hopefully now I can fight for a place in this team.
“Having the Europa League is a massive incentive for us young players because we know that if we’re doing well in training that’s the opportunity for us to impress in the Europa League games.
“We’re all buzzing that we’ve got it this year and hopefully there’ll be more and more chances for all of us.
“We saw on Twitter that we’ve sold 20,000 tickets already and we got really excited by it. That’s brilliant, so we’re all looking forward to it. It will be a special night and we want to give the fans a good performance because it’s been a while since we’ve been in Europe.
“We’re all gelling really well and we’re really excited for Thursday.”
The Hammers continue to prepare for that tie with a training camp in Cork and Lee says that is the perfect environment for the team to get together and impress new boss Slaven Bilic.
He continued: “All the lads are really enjoying the camp. The new Gaffer joined up on Friday and the training has stepped up in intensity.
“There is a competitive edge to the sessions because he’s watching and everyone wants to impress whether you’re a senior who has 500 appearances for a youngster like me coming through.
“The training has been tough but we’re all gelling together with this new squad that we have for the Europa League and we’re all really enjoying it.”
Buy your tickets for the FC Lusitans game now. Adults just £10 and Under-16s £5. Buy online by clicking here.