May 18 2013 Latest news:
Nathaniel John, West Ham Correspondent
Friday, July 13, 2012
Hammers star enjoying his 15th pre-season as a professional footballer
West Ham’s Matt Taylor is entering his 15th season as a professional footballer, but the 30-year-old is still enjoying the hard work of pre-season, just as much as when he was a teenager.
The former Bolton Wanderers man played 45 minutes for the Hammers against Austria Vienna on Saturday, followed by another half against Boreham Wood on Tuesday evening, and Taylor admitted it was nice to get back out onto the pitch on home soil this week.
“It was pretty usual for a pre-season match – rip-roaring at the start,” he said. “I think that main thing with pre-season games is that we come through injury-free and we have done that.
“We’ve been training hard and been in Austria for a week as well, so the lads were a little tired, but it’s been pretty standard to be honest.
“I prefer going away for pre-season because you have time to focus on nothing other than football and for me that’s the best way forward.
“We’ve got a couple more trips planned to Germany and Portugal as well.
“Pre-season has been going well. It’s getting harder, the older I’m getting, but I’m not going to complain.”
The Hammers returned for pre-season duty a week earlier than their other Premier League counterparts, but Taylor feels the players had a long enough summer break, and were eager to get back in the thick of things.
“I think it was a long enough break,” he said. “The whole point of last season was to get back to the Premier League and we’ve started earlier than the other teams because we want to hit the ground running.
“Hopefully we can do that and we can have a long summer next year.”
The first target for West Ham next year is to avoid relegation, and Taylor doesn’t want to talk about which place the Hammers want to finish in, but is purely focused on Premier League survival.
“When you get promoted, you want to stay up first and foremost, that will be the first aim,” he said.
“We want to make sure we get to that magical 40 points as soon as possible and if you look at the teams who came up last season like Swansea and Norwich, then you see that anything is possible.
“We don’t want to talk too much about where we want to finish next year – obviously we want to stay in the Premier League and if we can achieve that as quickly as possible then that would be a good season.”
The Hammers have been fortunate with their opening games in avoiding the so-called ‘Big Four’ clubs of Arsenal, Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea, but Taylor is quick to point out that there is no such thing as an easy fixture in the top flight.
“There are no easy games in the Premier League,” he added. “A lot of teams might go into a game against Manchester United in a different mindset to a game against a lesser team, which I personally think is wrong.
“We’re going to go into every game this season believing that we can win, because if you don’t have that winning mentality then I don’t think there is any point in playing.
“I’ve never played in an easy game in the Premier League and this season will be the same.”