Łukasz Fabiański on West Ham United's strong start, busy September, competition for places and amazing supporters
Łukasz Fabiański is relishing the challenges that await West Ham United over the next few weeks.
Having retired from international football after 15 years representing Poland, the goalkeeper’s focus is 100 per cent on the Hammers.
With seven games over the next 23 days in three different competitions – four in the Premier League, two in the UEFA Europa League group stage and one in the Carabaco Cup – against the likes of Southampton, Dinamo Zagreb, Manchester United (twice), Leeds United, Rapid Vienna and Brentford, there is much to look forward to and prepare for.
Fabiański knows he may not start every one of those fixtures, with recent signing Alphonse Areola awaiting his West Ham debut, but the vastly experienced goalkeeper is ready to pull on his gloves and do his best for the Club whenever he is called upon.
Speaking to Sky Sports ahead of Saturday’s return to Premier League action at Southampton, the 36-year-old is excited by what lies ahead…
At the moment, we are really happy we are in this position and I think we really worked hard to find ourselves in this position, but at the same time we understand it is just the start of the season and we need to continue working hard to stay consistent and to keep performing well and keep our position in a good place.
I don’t think we are thinking about position in the table. We have a good vibe about the group and about the team and this feeling of being strong and being hard to play against and I think we know what our strengths are, and we try to use them as much as we can.
We are trying to push each other even more and push each other as a group and as a team to help us get better when it comes to performing on a matchday.
The confidence is based on the performances and the results and we just want to keep putting in the good performances and when you do that you normally get rewards for that with good points.
Hopefully, we will stay consistent and I think that is what we are really aiming for, to be consistent. That would be for us a bit different because we have extra competitions and that will be very challenging but, if we keep challenging to keep our consistent level in a good way, I believe we can have another good, strong season.
To be honest, even when we watched the draw for the groups, you sensed the excitement about it, so I believe the group is really looking forward to competing in the Europa League.
You see how challenging and how demanding it is, but I think we have a really strong group of players, so I think we will be able to handle the challenge of performing in different competitions in a good way. It is very exciting for us, that’s for sure.
If players ask for my advice, I’m always there to help. Especially competing in Europe, it’s completely different, to be honest with you. The matches are completely different and more tactical and there is less pace to the game, but more quality, shall we say.
I believe you have to be ready to a different way of refereeing the games, so you have to be really prepared and take all things into consideration when you prepare for games like that.
We have only had one training session with Kurt Zouma but, from what I’ve seen he is a quality player and he is happy to be here.
He’s already been very open inside the dressing room, chatting with a lot of people, and that’s nice to see on his first day.
He’s just happy to be with us.
I don’t mind having competition for my shirt from Alphonse Areola at all, in fact I like it!
If you look at my history at Arsenal, after almost every transfer window I was competing with a new goalkeeper at the club, so it’s really nothing new and something that I’m always very excited about because it keeps you on your toes.
In my life, it tells me I need to keep my standards really high and to keep pushing to keep my place in the team, so I’m kind of always excited about things like that.
As a professional player, you always want to play every single game and that’s my aim, but at the same time I have to respect the decisions of the manager.
For me personally, I am always ready and prepared for every single game.
My aim is to keep on pushing. I’ve always been respectful of any decisions made by my manager, as he has to look at the whole team rather than individually.
For sure there will be times when some players will need a rest, but like I said I am always prepared to play every single game.
The main reason I retired from international football with Poland was because especially now we have the extra competition, the demands and the amount of games you are facing every single season is getting more and more.
Even if you look at the international games now, instead of playing two games, you are playing three games in every international break, so it’s becoming a little bit too much, I would say.
So, I believe it was the right time to retire from playing international football and concentrate on playing club football.
I’ve been involved in international football for 15 years, since 2006, so it gave me a chance to have the international break to rest a bit mentally and prepare to go again for a very intense period that we have coming up.
I kept two clean sheets against Southampton last season and, as a goalkeeper, you always want to have as many clean sheets as possible so I’m hoping to get another one on Saturday.
At the same time, they’re always difficult to play against, especially away from home, but we just want to build on our results so far this season, so hopefully it will be another very good game from our point of view.
It was amazing to have the fans back in the first three games, seriously, the game against Leicester, the feeling and the electricity were so different. It was amazing.
At our first game up at Newcastle we conceded early, and the roar was so loud I was like: ‘Oh yeah, they’re back in! That’s what we’ve been missing!’, even though it went against us. That atmosphere is what you want as a football player.
Then against Leicester, from the first whistle and leaving the tunnel, there was a buzz. I’d never really experienced at this football club and it’s something I’ll remember forever.