Lewis: I’d fancy U23s up against anybody

Alfie Lewis against Reading U23

West Ham United U23 midfielder Alfie Lewis is confident his side can take on anyone in the Premier League 2 Division 2 this season.

The playmaker, who scored the opening goal against Reading U23 last night to set the Hammers on their way to a 3-0 victory, says the team will journey to Old Trafford next weekend for a top-of-the-table clash with Manchester United U23 full of belief that they can deliver a win.

Speaking after the match against Reading U23, Lewis told whufc.com: “I’m feeling good and the team’s feeling great. 

“Three wins out of three games in the league is a great start to the season, and with another clean sheet in the bag, we’re all really delighted.”

“Next weekend we’re going to Manchester United, and we’re playing at Old Trafford, one of the best stadiums in the world. 

“We’re all going to be well up for it and, the way we’re playing at the moment, I’d fancy us against anybody. We’re looking forward to it, so hopefully we can get another three points.”

After Lewis struck from close range after 20 minutes, having been teed up by Dan Kemp, the Hammers doubled their lead on the stroke of half-time when Joe Powell dispatched a penalty for a foul on Oladapo Afolayan.

The result was sealed eight minutes into the second half when Afolayan slipped in Kemp on the counter-attack to round the keeper and fire home.

Lewis believes the timing of the second and third goals was a significant factor in contributing to what eventually proved to be a convincing scoreline.

He said: “I think the goal just before half-time really boosted us. Going into the break at 2-0 was great, but we also knew that we couldn’t afford to let it slip. 

“The third goal was really important - it killed the game. If we hadn’t got that, on another day, the match might’ve gone another way.”

Alfie Lewis against Reading U23

Once again, West Ham U23’s display was defined by tremendous work ethic, as the Hammers were quick to close the opposition down all over the pitch, in turn forcing their opponents into costly defensive errors.

Lewis believes such conscientiousness on the field has been integral to the team’s footballing philosophy under Lead Coach Dmitri Halajko.

“I think we did well to maintain our work rate for the entire game. We pressed them well and we were good in possession, and then we saw the result through too.

“We’re enjoying ourselves, we have an identity, we know how we want to play, and the boys are buzzing at the moment.”

Gonçalo Cardoso

The match also saw the first appearance of West Ham's summer signing, 18-year-old Gonçalo Cardoso, in the Claret and Blue.

The young Portuguese defender slotted in seamlessly and kept a clean sheet on his U23s debut, and spoke briefly to whufc.com after the match.

Cardoso said: “I’m very happy to be playing for West Ham. The players have welcomed me very kindly.

"I want to get minutes, so I’m always available to play wherever I’m needed. I felt good tonight.

"It was my first match this season, and it was a good game against a good team. We kept a clean sheet, so it was a really good first appearance."

West Ham United U23 continue their Premier League 2 Division 2 campaign away at Manchester United U23 next Friday 30 August, before visiting Newport County in the EFL Trophy on Wednesday 4 September.