West Ham United U23s midfielder Alfie Lewis believes he and his teammates go into every game feeling like they can win it.
Speaking after West Ham defeated Brighton & Hove Albion – who play in the division above them in Premier League 2 – in the Premier League International Cup on Wednesday night, Lewis says that confidence is flowing through the squad and has been a crucial factor in their excellent results so far this season.
Brighton started the game at the People’s Pension Stadium with a strong side which featured three of their senior first-team squad: Nigeria defender Leon Balogun, Brazilian left-back Bernardo, and Iran winger Alireza Jahanbakhsh.
West Ham performed brilliantly on the way to a 3-1 victory, however, which grants them an excellent chance of qualifying for the knockout stages of the Premier League International Cup.
“It was good out there tonight,” Lewis said afterwards. “We knew we had to win tonight to be in with a chance of qualifying.
“We were playing against a more difficult team than normal who had a few professionals in there, but I think especially in the second half, we were dominant and we deserved the win.
“We had to win – we knew that before, so we did it, and we got our goal difference up to plus two as well. All we can do now is hope that we go through, and I think we deserve to.”
I just gambled really. I saw Powelly go to cross and I thought I’d just get in there. It was a bit lucky, but a goal’s a goal, so I'll take it
After Nathan Holland had cancelled out Bojan Radulovic’s first-half strike, Lewis scored the Hammers’ crucial second on the evening, before Anthony Scully’s opportunistic late goal sealed the win.
For his goal, the midfielder burst forwards into the area and, when Scully’s flick from Joe Powell’s low cross was saved, took full advantage of the gaping net to side-foot in his second goal in two games.
“I just gambled really,” Lewis recalled. “I saw Powelly go to cross and I thought I’d just get in there. It was a bit lucky, but a goal’s a goal, so I’ll take it!
“I wanted to score more this year. That’s four for me this season, and I’m just hoping I can get a few more towards the back end of the season and keep up my recent run.
“The front six, and everyone really, attacks by playing some really good football. When we get it out wide to Nathan and [Dan] Kempy, we look a right threat, and obviously Scully is scoring for fun at the minute, so going forwards we’re dangerous.”
West Ham will be aware of their Premier League International Cup fate following Brighton’s final Group B game on Monday 27 January 2020.
Before then, however, there is the small matter of maintaining a three-point advantage – and unbeaten status – at the top of Premier League 2 Division 2 to attend to.
“We’re just taking it one game at a time,” Lewis explained. “I think that’s what we’ve been doing all season: playing well, taking it game by game. We’re confident and feel like we can beat anyone, so we’ll just keep going in that manner.”