Fabianski will not rule out top-six push

West Ham United
West Ham United goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski says the pre-season environment has been more enjoyable to work in.

West Ham goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski says he will not rule out a potential top-six charge this season, but says the team must play to their maximum.

The Hammers have been tipped as one of the teams to potentially gatecrash the league’s normal order, with Chelsea having being issued a transfer ban and both Manchester United and Arsenal playing with new squads.

Leicester, Everton and Europa League side Wolves are in the same bracket of teams expected to challenge.

West Ham have spent big this summer, including breaking their own transfer record to sign Sebastien Haller from Bundesliga outfit Hoffenheim.

They also brought in Spain’s Euro under-21 Championship midfielder Pablo Fornals, who made his first start in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Brighton.

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are notoriously slow starters and were well beaten by Manchester City 5-0 at the Olympic Stadium in game one.

The point at the AMEX Stadium was welcomed but it could have been worse had VAR not ruled out an initial goal for Brighton.

Nevertheless, Fabianski still maintains that the squad is talented enough to challenge, though they must all play to their full potential if they are to finish in Europe.

“Quality-wise, we have a very decent team and squad,” he said. “But it is about performances.

“You cannot only look at the names of the players in the team. You have to perform every single week. That is what we are going to be judged by. It is all about the performances.”

West Ham may have been deemed fortunate to get the point at Brighton, looking at the stats of the game.

In the expected goals (xG), which values every shot taken by teams during games, Brighton were expected to win, though Fabianski says the Hammers’ defensive resilience was a factor in securing the point.

“It was a tough game,” he confirmed. “We focused more on defending than attacking in the first half then in the second half the game became more equal. They created more clear chances but we managed to score a goal and get a draw against a tough side.” 

West Ham’s next outing is against Watford at Vicarage Road on Saturday before they face Norwich at home on August 31.