Jesse Lingard: It's down to us to keep the performances coming
Jesse Lingard says West Ham United will continue to take things one game at a time as they seek to close the 2020/21 season in style.
The Hammers go into their final eight games of the season sitting fourth in the Premier League table and knowing a strong finish could secure European qualification. The first of those eight comes on Sunday afternoon, when third-place Leicester City visit London Stadium for what is the game of the weekend in English football.
Victory over the Foxes will close the gap on Brendan Rodgers’ side to a single point and also maintain West Ham’s own position in the top four, but Lingard insists David Moyes and his players will not get ahead of themselves.
We’re going in the right direction and it’s down to us now to maintain that position and keep the performances coming
“We’re brilliant, we’re moving the right direction and the team is full of confidence and all of us want to concentrate on the next game and getting the next three points and putting us into an even better position,” he explained.
“Anything is possible, I believe. We’re going in the right direction and it’s down to us now to maintain that position and keep the performances coming. We’ve still got a lot to learn and a lot to improve and we’re working on that every day in training to get the best out of the players on matchday.
“For the time being, it’s all about working hard in training this week and concentrating on Sunday’s game.”
Both West Ham and Leicester go into Sunday’s game with key players absent due to either injury or positive COVID-19 tests, with the Hammers set to be without Declan Rice, Angelo Ogbonna and Andriy Yarmolenko.
However, the No11 believes the togetherness in Moyes’ squad means they can still go into the game confident of victory.
“For us, obviously we like to concentrate on ourselves and showing what we can do, first and foremost,” he continued. “We know Leicester are a great side and they are maintaining a run of form but the same goes for us as well and I wouldn’t say we’re the underdogs. It’s 11v11 on the pitch and we back ourselves.
“We go into the game full of confidence and hopefully we can get the three points as it would be a huge boost for us.”
Lingard goes into Sunday’s game in arguably the best form of his life, having scored six goals and assisted three more in his first eight appearances since joining West Ham on loan from Manchester United at the end of January.
The 28-year-old’s form has seen him inspire the Hammers to five wins and two draws in those eight matches and earn a recall to the senior England squad.
On Monday, he was at his best yet again to lead West Ham to a 3-2 win at Wolverhampton Wanderers, where he scored a sensational individual goal before playing his part in the second for Pablo Fornals with an audacious piece of skill, then laying on the third for Jarrod Bowen with a perfectly weighted pass.
“We’re in really good spirits at the moment – the whole team is, to be honest,” he reflected, when asked about his performance at Molineux. “It was a good victory and obviously we’re in the top four and we want to maintain that position now.
“It’s up with the best goals I’ve ever scored. It’s similar to a goal I scored against Watford for Manchester United, but I’d say it’s definitely up there.
“With the spin for Pablo’s goal, it was just using my initiative because the ball was going out of play and I just had to get their as quickly as I could, and by the time I got there I knew the defender was there, so I knew I had to spin immediately.
“We’re playing with confidence and winning games and when you’re doing that, things like that will come, and thankfully it came to me.”