James Tomkins insists that West Ham United’s Barclays Premier League double over Liverpool is a mark of just how far the Hammers have come this season.
Five goals without reply against the Reds speaks volumes for Slaven Bilic’s men, who are sitting pretty in sixth heading into this weekend’s Emirates FA Cup meeting with Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Saturday’s clean sheet was the Hammers’ fourth in their last six outings and the 26-year-old commended his side’s collective effort to rack up the shutouts.
“To do the double over Liverpool is pretty impressive,” he said. “They always used to be a hard team to beat, but we probably made it look a bit easier than it felt at the time. I think that just shows how far we've come this year.
“I think we defended well and put our bodies on the line and it wasn’t just the back four or five. Everyone knows just how important that clean sheet is to us and we all try to cling on to it as much as we can.
“At times we rode our luck a little, but in this game you have to. They could have been three or four down, so it's swings and roundabouts, but everyone's happy with that result.”
Tomkins, of course, is currently adjusting to life on the right side of the Hammers’ back four and while he already looks perfectly at home there, he reckons he still has plenty to learn about the role.
“I am still learning the position and it is going to take a little time to get used to it. When you're learning a new position at my age, you have to rely on your understanding of the game.
“It is still all new to me, because this is the first time I have played there quite regularly. I can still improve and hopefully I will get better with every game.”
As for the Hammers’ prospects this season, Tomkins was in no mood to get carried away with their fine form of late and, with the table so close, still maintains that a top-ten finish of any kind would represent a good season.
“I still want to say top ten really,” he continued. “You can see how tight it is and the teams are still picking up points down below. “Top ten is still an improvement from last year heading into the Olympic Stadium, but the longer it goes I might start thinking top eight, or top six.”