After the two-week international break, we are all looking forward to getting back to business in the Premier League on Saturday, and the chance to return to winning ways.
I’m still not quite sure how to sum up the defeat against Leicester a fortnight ago. It was a bizarre game, in which we found ourselves 2-0 down after seven minutes but ended up being hugely disappointed not to win. We absolutely bombarded them in the second half, had all the possession and created more than enough chances to come out on top.
In that sense, we can be positive and confident as we prepare to face Hull City at the KCOM Stadium this weekend, aiming to end the run of three straight defeats and hopefully push ourselves back into the top half of the table.
There is a similarity with the reverse fixture at London Stadium back in December, when the result was more important than the performance. We were quite fortunate that day, and I remember that the Hull directors were devastated that they came away with nothing.
They will no doubt have that day in their minds this weekend, but I know that we will go up there absolutely determined to get another positive result. Slaven won’t allow the players to take anything for granted or show any complacency just because our opponents are in the bottom three.
Hull have been on a good run at home and we will have to be at our best to get something out of the game. One thing that does give me confidence, however, is the fact that on a number of occasions this season, when the team have been going through tough times and really needed to dig out a result, they have done exactly that.
Obviously it’s a blow to have lost Pedro Obiang, Winston Reid and Michail Antonio to injury but, on the bright side, it gives other players the chance to stake a claim for the shirt. And you could argue that some fresh faces coming in, eager to grab their chance and perform well, is something that will give us a lift.
It is also likely that Mark Noble will be back in the squad on Saturday and that is another tremendous boost for everyone.
Make no mistake, Mark’s presence is absolutely vital to our team and his return will have a positive impact. I know that he has received some criticism recently but we must remember that he played his last two matches while carrying an injury.
Not only is he a good player, he is a motivator, a leader, and he has a great influence on the players around him. Mark is one of the best captains I have come across during my years in the game – he cares as passionately about West Ham United as anyone.
There is also a good chance that he will reach his 400th appearance for the Club during the next week, and what a phenomenal achievement that is in the modern game. He has been here man and boy, and his value and contribution should not be under-estimated.
Finally, I would like to wish every single one of our 2,400 magnificent travelling supporters a safe journey up to Hull tomorrow. I sincerely hope we can give you the victory you deserve.
Come on you Irons!