O’Neil: Favourites tag won’t affect West Ham

15:00 03 May 2012

Gary O

Gary O'Neil of West Ham

Rob Newell/TGSPHOTO c/o 27 Plaiters Way, Braintree, Essex, CM7 3LR - Editorial Use ONLY - FA Premier League and Football League

Hammers midfielder ‘amazed’ at his involvement this season

West Ham midfielder Gary O’Neil admits that while they may be favourites to win the play-offs, it is a tag that won’t affect the Hammers squad.

The midfielder has played an extensive role in the final stretch of the season, becoming a regular starter in the West Ham engine room, and the 28-year-old is looking forward to tonight’s (Thursday) clash against Cardiff City.

“We are in very decent form, we have only lost one game at home this year to Reading, so we are looking forward to it,” he said. “The favourites’ tag doesn’t really mean anything to me.

“We deal with everything in the dressing room, we are a very tight unit and we try not to let outside influences affect us.

“You can guarantee that we will be giving all that we can and hopefully it is enough.”

Along with the Bluebirds, Blackpool and Birmingham City are also in the play-offs, but O’Neil sees all three teams as equal threats.

“There are four of us in the semi-final and league positions don’t really mean a lot,” he said. “I don’t see one as a bigger threat than the others, they have all had decent seasons to get where they are.”

Speaking of decent seasons, O’Neil has had an impressive spell of his own, coming back from his long injury lay-off to stake a claim for a first-team place.

And the former Middlesbrough man admits that he has been surprised by the amount of games that he has been able to play.

“I am amazed,” he added. “One, I didn’t think the ankle would let me play as many as I have and two, I didn’t think I’d be selected for as many as I have been.

“I’m really pleased on a personal level that I’ve made 10 starts this season.

“That’s probably about nine more than I expected, so that’s a real positive.”

The Hammers have won a club record 13 away league games this term, and O’Neil is confident that West Ham can continue that run tonight, before entertaining Cardiff at Upton Park on Bank Holiday Monday.

“Going away to Cardiff first could be an advantage if we treat it as a one-off game and try to win,” he said.

“Coming back here, we’d be confident.It’s an old cliché, but we need to take it one game at a time.

“We need to try to be solid and keep a clean sheet, score a few goals and then we can come back and finish the job.

“Cardiff have got into the play-offs by scraping in, so they’ll be buzzing that they’ve made it.

“It will be a tough tie.”

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Submit your West Ham player ratings

Latest West Ham news

Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Morgan Amalfitano of West Ham United (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Hammers star Morgan Amalfitano is loving life in London and at West Ham

Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Pedro   (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

The latest transfer gossip from around the web.

Monday, March 30, 2015
Cheikhou Kouyate, West Ham United.

Cheikhou Kouyate says the success of El-Hadji Diouf, Patrick Vieira and Didier Drogba convinced him that he could play in the Premier League.

Monday, March 30, 2015
Rafael van der Vaart of Netherlands   (Photo by Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images,)

Besiktas have denied reports that they have offered a contract to Rafael Van der Vaart.

Monday, March 30, 2015
Diafra Sakho of West Ham  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

West Ham’s Diafra Sakho has said that he wishes to remain a West Ham player next season in order to play in the Olympic Stadium.

What is this?

Near You Now

Competitions

Munch on a tasy three course dinner at The Refinery!

“Where to go for a drink near Great Portland Street?” was previously met with blank expressions and shrugs for those local to the area, not anymore, thanks to the opening of The Refinery at Regent’s Place, the eighth bar and restaurant from hugely-successful group Drake & Morgan.

Read more

Don't Miss...

West Ham Transfer News

Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez in action for Real Madrid (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

Reported Tottenham and West Ham transfer target Javier Hernandez has voiced his disappointment over a lack of playing time at Real Madrid.

Read more
West Ham's Alex Song in action against Crystal Palace (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

Read our round-up of the latest transfer news and gossip on the London clubs from around the web.

Read more
Rafael van der Vaart of Netherlands   (Photo by Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images,)

Hamburg midfielder Rafael van der Vaart will be available on a free transfer this summer when he is released by the German club.

Read more