Aaron Cresswell is determined to help West Ham United end 2019 on a high.
The Hammers close out the calendar year with a Boxing Day trip to Crystal Palace, followed by the visit of Leicester City to London Stadium on Saturday 28 December, before kicking-off 2020 with a home game against AFC Bournemouth on New Year’s Day.
Two victories over the Eagles and Foxes, would take the Irons’ Premier League points haul for the year to 50 from 37 games played and, says Cresswell, set them up to attack the second half of the 2019/20 campaign.
When you are a footballer, you know Christmas is not like it is for most people, but it’s part and parcel and we enjoy it
“Obviously, we had a good start to the season but over the last ten games, we’ve not played as well as we’d liked,” he admitted. “But the last game away from home at Southampton, we got the win and it was a good performance with the way the lads dug deep and showed the spirit, togetherness, grit and determination.
“Everything was there to see, so it was brilliant to get that three points. We want to put distance between ourselves and the bottom three and start climbing that table.
“If you look at our next three games over the Christmas period, which is the toughest period of the season physically, we can kick on and we want to take as many points as we can from them, which will push us right up there.”
West Ham’s 2019 can be summed up in one word – inconsistent – with the Irons only recording back-to-back victories on three occasions, winning three in a row at the end of the 2018/19 campaign and two consecutive matches at the end of August.
The No3 says he and his teammates are determined to put results together more often, as they did in winning four straight top-flight fixtures a year ago in December 2018.
“If you look at the start of last season, we lost our first four games, then improved and picked up loads of points over Christmas which really pushed us up the table, and we want to do the same this season,” he recalled.
“Ideally, we know we shouldn’t be where we are, but we are where we are. The games come thick and fast now and we want to repeat what we did last season and show that consistency from now until the end of the season.”
Now a father-of-one, with a second baby on the way, Cresswell has a young family to look after at Christmas, but the left-back will join up with his teammates on Christmas Day to train, then spend time at home before heading for a hotel ahead of the Boxing Day fixture.
At 30, the defender is used to the routine of festive football.
“I love it myself!” he smiled. “When you are a footballer, you know Christmas is not like it is for most people, but it’s part and parcel and we enjoy it.
“We will be in on Christmas morning, then spend a few hours with our families before meeting up at the hotel for Crystal Palace away. I love playing at Selhurst Park, too. The fans are always noisy and the atmosphere will be good, as it’s another London derby.
“As I said, it’s the job we do and there are people making far greater sacrifices than we are. The games come every two or three days and it’s hectic, but the fans enjoy it, so it’s good!”