Craig Dawson: I’ll keep working hard for more of those nights
After Angelo Ogbonna recorded a goal and clean sheet at Everton on Sunday, Craig Dawson and Issa Diop goals both did likewise in the 3-0 win over Genk on Thursday night.
It’s fair to assert, therefore, that West Ham United’s centre-backs are currently influencing results at both end of the pitch!
And it is a department they are well stocked in, with Dawson, Diop and Ogbonna all vying for places in manager David Moyes’ starting XI along with France international Kurt Zouma.
For 31-year-old Dawson, therefore, a first goal on his seventh start of the season was an important one, as the centre-back continues to epitomise the strength in depth supporting the Irons’ challenge on three fronts so far this season.
“It was obviously a good performance from everyone tonight,” Dawson told West Ham TV. “To come out of the game with goals for the centre-halves and a clean sheet, it’s been a good night.
“It was an important goal to go in 1-0 up [at half-time] and give us some confidence. We know, at times, we’re not going to be two or three goals up at half-time, so it was great focus from the lads to keep going to the last kick.
“Of course, it’s disappointing [on the occasions] when you’re not in the side, but I’ll just keep working, keep working hard on the training pitch and keep having nights like tonight.”
Perform the centre-back most certainly did, playing his part in keeping the opposition scoreless for the fifth time this season – and for the third consecutive occasion on which he has partnered Diop.
“Yeah, we’re doing well at the moment!” he laughed. “I think that’s a few clean sheets in a row for us, so we’ll just keep going, keep working hard and see what happens.
“Clean sheets are obviously important for the group and it’s great to be a part of that.
“There’s obviously competitions for places, everyone’s working hard, and all you can do is perform when you get that opportunity.
“Confidence is high. It’s a good group of players. We’re going to stay grounded and keep working hard for each game. We’ve got a lot of games coming up, so we’ll need everyone ready.”
Dawson and Diop’s goals also saw made West Ham goals in a row scored by centre-backs from set-pieces, with Aaron Cresswell picking up two assists on Thursday to go alongside Jarrod Bowen’s on Sunday.
No side has scored more from set-pieces in the Premier League than West Ham’s 28 goals since manager Moyes’ first game back at the Club in January 2020, a record which would make any club envious.
“It’s all about the delivery,” Dawson modestly noted. “I think the delivery’s always on there, and we’ve got some great attackers from set pieces, so it’s important to keep that up and keep scoring from them.”
Obviously nights like tonight are special, but Sunday’s going to be extra special, and I know the fans are going to be right behind us
As for Dawson’s West Ham’s next game, the exciting assignment of a London derby at home to Tottenham Hotspur awaits – but the centre-back is confident in the Claret and Blue Army’s backing.
He confirmed: “It’s going to be a tough game, a hard game, but a game we’re looking forward to.
“It’s massive. Obviously nights like tonight are special, but Sunday’s going to be extra special, and I know the fans are going to be right behind us.”