Łukasz Fabiański: I am enjoying playing under a different sort of pressure this season
Łukasz Fabiański says he is enjoying the pressure of fighting for a place in the top six of the Premier League table, rather than battling to stay out of the bottom three.
A year ago, West Ham United went into the first national lockdown sitting above the relegation zone only by goal difference, and it took a lot of hard work, commitment and belief to take 12 points from the final seven matches and ultimately avoid the drop with a single game to spare.
Twelve months on, the Hammers are fifth in the table with 48 points with ten games remaining and go into Sunday’s fixture with Arsenal seven points ahead of the Gunners and also above the likes of Liverpool, Everton and Tottenham Hotspur in the standings.
Fabiański knows there is still a long way to go this season, but he is relishing the challenge of duelling for a European place, rather than struggling to stay up.
At the moment, I think we feel pressure, but on the other hand that pressure is connected to trying to achieve something cool or something nice, so it’s a completely different feeling
“What I like about this present time is that we are still under pressure, but it is a completely different pressure to the one we felt last season, when we were in a difficult position and basically fighting against relegation,” the goalkeeper told the Football Daily Podcast.
“At the moment, I think we feel pressure, but on the other hand that pressure is connected to trying to achieve something cool or something nice, so it’s a completely different feeling.
“Being able to come in every single day and everyone is basically very happy and smiling and at the same time so positive during the training sessions and I think what has improved a lot, when you look at the atmosphere of our training sessions, is that everyone is so up for it.
“I think that the situation has created a change of the culture when it comes to keeping the standards high in our training sessions, demanding a lot of yourself and your teammates every single day, because we have proved so far this season that we can basically get better.
“That’s what has happened and it’s very enjoyable to have this kind of environment.”
West Ham’s No1 also explained that positive performances results on matchday breed positive and productive training sessions in the week that follows.
After winning back-to-back Premier League games just twice last season, the Irons have done so on four occasions this term, including stringing three and four-match winning runs together in November and January respectively.
At the same time, West Ham have lost consecutive Premier League matches just once, in their opening two fixtures of the season, with the second of those defeats coming at Sunday’s opponents Arsenal.
Fabiański believes the positivity built up over the course of a succession campaign means the Hammers will avoid repeating that result, and losing back-to-back games for a second time, when they host the Gunners at London Stadium.
“Sometimes, when you prepare for games, the feeling that you’ve got from the last game can affect the week, the way you prepare and the way you feel the pressure coming into your next game,” he said.
“We say it’s so nice to be in this position don’t really feel any negativity connected to being in a struggling position. It’s so nice to be up there so high in the table, because then you feel a completely different pressure. I think that’s been the biggest change.
“I wish I will continue to have this feeling. It took a lot of hard work to get to this place and to get this feeling, so I hope I will continue to respect that and remember what got us into this place.
“What got us into this place is a lot of commitment and hard work and understanding the way the manager has been with us since the first day he came in and took charge of this football club. He is on top of us every single day, so I think that’s what helped us to get where we are.
“It was a lot of struggle and it always takes time for everything to gel in, but you can see very positive effects happening now.”