Upson: West Ham have to push on to bigger things
PUBLISHED: 16:56 13 May 2017
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Club must be in European picture says former defender
Former West Ham defender Matt Upson says the club must push on, now they appear to finally be settling into their new home at the London Stadium.
The Hammers supporters raised the roof during their 1-0 win over Tottenham and will be looking to do the same as they welcome Liverpool for their last home match of the Premier League season on Sunday (2.15pm).
And Upson, who captained West Ham during a four-year spell at Upton Park, believes Slaven Bilic’s men should be pushing for a European spot again next season.
“It’s definitely not their ceiling finishing mid-table, it’s a big enough club with a brand new stadium to push on,” he said.
“It has the supporting structure to push into that Europe conversation but they’ve got to find the right players, with the right balance on the pitch.
“The old ground was fantastic, rich in history, stature and presence, but every forward-thinking club has to look at improving their stadium or moving to a bigger one.
“I think the focus on the atmosphere has been largely overplayed this season – from what I could see and hear, the atmosphere against Spurs was amazing and the team played very well with a high tempo. Many clubs seemingly find it difficult initially when moving stadiums, but West Ham the other night looked like they’re settling in to the stadium now. That result showed that the London Stadium can be home for West Ham fans and it really rocked.”
Bilic’s squad have been hit by injuries to key players during the current campaign, having also seen French playmaker Dimitri Payet leave in the January transfer window.
The club have been linked with moves for some big-name players, including Barking’s John Terry, who is set to leave champions Chelsea at the end of the season, and Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge, but Upson has mixed views on recruiting that particular pair.
He added: “I’m not sure where John will move next, I would have thought he’ll have plenty of offers, both here and abroad. He looks great, he’s training hard and he’s going to want to play every week.
“You can’t underestimate the presence of someone like John Terry in a changing room, with his proven Premier League experience and knowledge.”
“Both Andy Carroll and Daniel Sturridge bring a lot of great attributes to the team, but the downside recently of Andy Carroll is that he’s not fit every game and given that reality, I’m not sure they can risk replacing him with another player who has struggled to stay fit.”