A clean-sheet and a vital role in securing three points made Łukasz Fabiański’s 300th Premier League outing an even more memorable occasion.
The goalkeeper claimed the notable milestone in West Ham United’s 2-0 victory over Norwich City on Wednesday, becoming the first Polish player to ever reach 300 appearances in the Premier League.
Having started his Premier League career with Arsenal, Fabiański admitted that many may not have expected him to earn such an accolade after an inconsistent start to life in England.
However, having made a name for being one of the league’s most reliable shot-stoppers at Swansea City and now West Ham, the 36-year-old could not contain his pride at the achievement.
“It’s a proud moment for me,” he told West Ham TV. “If you look at the history of my career in the Premier League and how it’s evolved, I don’t think – at the start of It – many would have thought I could reach that amount of games.
“But I think with consistency and with the belief that I can actually play at this level, I was able to reach that number against Norwich.
“I’m very proud of it and I will just continue to stay humble, to continue to work hard, to continue to try to improve, and we’ll see what can happen. But overall I’m very, very happy with that number.”
While West Ham’s No1 had a relatively quiet evening between the sticks against Norwich, his quality was apparent on 68 minutes as the Canaries sought to equalise.
With the score still at 1-0, thanks to Jarrod Bowen’s first-half header, Adam Idah drove into a dangerous area and fired a rocket on the home side’s goal, forcing Fabiański into a quick dive; his fingertip save tipping the effort onto the woodwork.
For me it was all about staying focused for 90 minutes and being ready for anything that can happen
Reflecting on the moment, the goalkeeper was delighted to help his side out in such a crucial way.
“Before the game, when you analyse what can happen in the match, it was all about staying focused. We kind of expected I wouldn’t be as busy as I can be as I am against other opponents, so for me it was all about staying focused for 90 minutes and being ready for anything that can happen.
“I was pleased I was able to help the team in that moment.”
Speaking further about the victory, Fabiański continued: “We’re obviously very happy with the win and with the points. We’re putting ourselves in a very strong position in the table again.
“I think we can be pleased with everything that happened against Norwich. Even though they’re struggling in the league, when it comes to their position, they still have some quality players and they still play in a way that can be tricky to break.
“I think we put in a really good performance. We managed to break through them, and we managed to create some chances. It wasn’t easy but we did it.”
With Kurt Zouma and Angelo Ogbonna missing through injury, Craig Dawson and Issa Diop have formed West Ham’s centre-back partnership in recent weeks and Fabiański was eager to praise the defensive duo for their efforts – both against Norwich and throughout the last month.
Speaking on working with the duo, he said: “It’s been really good. We have to remember that they had to play for almost the whole of December, with the amount of games we had, and they did really well because it can be really hard playing every single game.
“But they managed to perform at a really good level. You can see clearly that there is a really good understanding between them and me as well, so I think it’s really good to have so many quality centre-backs at the Club.”
Fabianski watched on last Sunday as West Ham defeated Leeds United in the FA Cup third round and, as the Irons now prepare to face the Whites again this weekend, knows the team are in for another tough Premier League test.
But, with the goalkeeper set for appearance number 301 in the Premier League, Fabiański is confident of another good performance.
He added: “We just played Leeds in the FA Cup and they’re always a very difficult team to play against. They’re a very different team in the way they play football, but you always have to be ready for a big, physical output in the game.
“II think it’s going to be another tough challenge for us. Hopefully we’ll be able to perform in a good way and get another good result.”