When the carrot of fourth place was dangling in front of West Ham United before a home game against the Premier League’s bottom club, many questioned their bottle.
It is fair to say West Ham do not have much experience of maintaining a push for the Champions League places at this stage of a season.
But the Hammers put in a nerveless display to comfortably beat Sheffield United 3-0 and go joint fourth with Chelsea – who have a superior goal difference.
West Ham win makes people sit up and take notice
It is the kind of victory that will make people sit up and take notice of David Moyes’s West Ham, if they haven’t already.
Particularly given how other sides in the Champions League mix have stuttered of late.
West Ham are well on course for their best top flight season in 35 years.
And it is a crying shame the club’s long suffering and loyal supporters can’t be there to enjoy iy.
Former Hammer turned pundit Rio Ferdinand was covering West Ham’s win over the Blades for BT Sport.
Former Hammer Rio praises club and fans but make controversial claim
Speaking to presenter Jake Humphrey about West Ham’s chances of making the top four, Ferdinand was full of praise for his old club and the fans.
But he also controversially suggested West Ham are flourishing because the supporters are not at the games.
Rio told BT Sport that West Ham are a ‘massive club with brilliant supporters’.
However he pointed out that ‘West Ham fans are also very demanding’ and them not being at games has allowed the team to ‘flourish’ this season.
The comments may not go down well with some West Ham fans.
The Hammers’s fanbase have not seen a major trophy – or had much else to shout about – for over 40 years. Yet they had the second highest number of season ticket holders for four years straight behind only Manchester United before the pandemic struck.
Harsh on fiercely loyal Hammers supporters even if some may agree with the sentiment
West Ham fans fill the London Stadium every other week and bang out every away end following their side.
So it is hard to take to see people suggest the club is doing well because they are not there.
Martin Keown made a similar claim recently and was hammered for it (talkSPORT).
When Rio speaks it carries a bit more weight, particularly given the fact he came through the academy.
Some supporters will be hurt by the comments. Others may agree.
Perhaps there have been some tight games where fans could have got restless and transmitted that to the players.
But first and foremost West Ham supporters want to see their players committed to the badge and working hard.
They have got that by the bucketload under Moyes and would have been fully on board with the players this season.
To effectively suggest West Ham are better off without fans is tough to take.
And it is an opinion that needs to be challenged.