Łukasz Fabiański: We're preparing for a very tough game

Łukasz Fabiański

West Ham United head into Monday night's Premier League meeting with Sheffield United knowing victory would lift them back into the Premier League's top four - at least for a couple of hours.

The Hammers will be looking to complete a league double over the Blades, following their 1-0 triumph at Bramall Lane in November, and goalkeeper Łukasz Fabiański is expecting the London Stadium return to be equally as tight.

Sheffield United may arrive in east London at the foot of the Premier League table, but have picked up since the teams last met, winning three of their last six outings to bring the sides immediately above them into striking range.

Fabiański, though, is confident the Hammers can bounce back from Tuesday's FA Cup exit at Manchester United and make that move back up the table.

"I enjoy every single game," the No1 said. "I love the games when we are winning 3-0 or 4-0 – that’s ideal – but the tight games are always difficult because you know there is always going to be one moment that could change it.

"Sheffield United, even though they didn’t pick up that many points [initially], recently have been playing against really good sides and have always been in the game for most of it, so it looks like they have improved compared to the way they have been performing at the start of the season.

"I think it will be a very difficult game. We played against Fulham last week and they are in a similar situation like Sheffield United and that was a very, very hard game for us because they pushed really hard and are trying to climb up out of the relegation zone.

"Those games are always very difficult and we are preparing for a very tough game."

Łukasz Fabiański

Fabiański kept a clean sheet in that 0-0 draw against Fulham - as he did at Bramall Lane in the Autumn - among the seven he has already kept this term in the top flight.

The Hammers' improvement at the back has been clear to see this season - the 1.22 goals they have conceded per game on average compares to 1.63 in 2019/20 - and Fabiański is keen to add to his tally on Monday.

"Last season I think I played 20-odd games, so the clean sheet number wasn’t a big one," he continued. "I think anyone can clearly see the improvement on that end, if you compare this one to even the last two seasons.

"I think that is something we have been really working hard on and trying to understand that being able to keep clean sheets and being hard to beat always give you something from the game.

"Hopefully we will continue and be able to add a few more clean sheets this season."

That hard work was evident at Old Trafford in midweek, despite the final outcome of a 1-0 defeat after extra-time - and the Poland stopper believes a similar work ethic would pay dividends on Monday.

"We are all disappointed because we felt like it could have gone to penalties," he added. "I think we picked it up really well in the second half and then for the rest of the game we performed in a really good way.

"We felt like we maybe didn’t deserve to win in the 90 minutes or even in extra-time, but we felt like it would have been nice to go to penalties and give ourselves a chance in different circumstances. That would have been great, but it didn’t happen."