West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce believes his side will have a good idea where they will finish at the end of the season by January but says consistency will be key if they want to challenge for a European place.
The Hammers remain in the Premier League top four after beating bottom club Leicester City 2-0 at the Boleyn Ground.
Andy Carroll and Stewart Downing were on the scoresheet as the east Londoners won their fifth league game in six outings to stay two points clear of fifth-placed Southampton.
Allardyce’s side are already being touted as possible top-six contenders this season but the manager is refusing to get carried away just yet, insisting he will have a better idea about their chances next month.
“We’ve sustained our position between sixth and fourth in recent weeks. We’ve a considerable amount of games now. The end of January will tell us what we can possibly achieve,” he said.
“It’s about the consistency of winning and that is what we’ve got to challenge ourselves to try to do. You can’t afford to slip up too many times if you’ve played well and you don’t win, because you’ll end up slipping away and out of the elite end of this league.”
West Ham will be in the top four over Christmas for the first time in Premier League history and it is their highest position on December 25 since the 1985-86 season, when they finished third.
“At the moment we’re living with it,” added Allardyce. “We’re enjoying it and the players who have applied themselves magnificently well all season are reaping the rewards.”
The Hammers face arguably their toughest fixture of the season on December 26 as they travel to league leaders Chelsea, with Allardyce’s side 7.54 to win and the Blues 1.31.