Gilly Flaherty cannot stress the importance enough of West Ham United taking three points from Brighton & Hove Albion his weekend.
The Irons return to Rush Green Stadium against the Seagulls on Sunday for a first home match of 2020, having been beaten away to Tottenham Hotspur last week.
Having endured the frustration of such a defeat, captain Flaherty believes it is vital the Hammers now returning to winning ways tomorrow, as they seek to pull away from the pack at the bottom of the table and join the race for the top four.
It’s so important we beat them. We need to pull away from that pack underneath us and recover some ground on the teams above us too.
“We said Spurs was a must-win game,” Flaherty told whufc.com “If we got the three points, we would have gone level with them. We’ve got two games in hand, but we need to pick up points from teams around us. Brighton is now even more a must-win game.
“It’s so important we beat them. We need to pull away from that pack underneath us and recover some ground on the teams above us too. We’ve got a good chance to do that in front of our fans on Sunday. We need to play for the full 90 against Brighton the way we played for the final 30 minutes against Tottenham.”
Although West Ham beat Brighton earlier in the season, memories of a disappointing 4-0 home loss against Hope Powell’s side at the end of the 2018/19 campaign remain with Flaherty.
The defender knows that the south-coast side will be formidable opponents, who are difficult to break down, and only the best possibly performance from the Hammers will get the victory.
Flaherty added: “You look at the last game of last season and Brighton were below us in the league. We were probably still on a high from playing in the FA Cup Final, but they beat us 4-0.
“We can’t underestimate them, and they have a great coach in Hope Powell. They’ve got a point to prove and they’re fighting for points too. They will come here looking for a result, and we need to match them and go one better.
“I was in the England U19s and U20s when Hope was senior manager. She expects hard work from her teams and her side will be organised and disciplined. They will be so motivated for the game, so we need to be better to win it.”