Hitzlsperger: West Ham have confidence now to avoid drop

Thomas Hitzlsperger is confident that West Ham will avoid relegation and even thinks a place in the FA Cup final is not beyond the club's grasp after Monday night's fifth-round hammering of Burnley. After six months out with a thigh injury, Hitzlsperger finally made his Hammers debut at Upton Park. The German could not have expected his bow to have gone any better as he opened the scoring with a blistering 25-yard strike to set his team on their way to a 5-1 win.

The east London side have struggled without Hitzlsperger since he was ruled out after picking up the injury in Germany's match against Denmark last August. Despite enjoying good runs in both cup competitions, West Ham have struggled to stay afloat in the Premier League and have spent the majority of the season in the relegation zone.

They sit 19th in the division ahead of Sunday's match against in-form Liverpool, but Hitzlsperger is optimistic about his side's chances of survival. "Our target is to stay in the Premier League. This season has been up and down but we have to try to stay in the league and remain positive," he said.

"I'm really looking forward to the next few months and if I stay fit, which I will, then we have a good chance of staying up because this is a good group and we all fancy our chances."

West Ham have buckled at times this season but Hitzlsperger insists that the squad will be able to deal with the pressure that will come playing against the likes of Stoke, Tottenham and Manchester United in the next six weeks. "If you talk to the teams around us, I think most of them would say we shouldn't be in that position," the 28-year-old said. "We have some good players here. I see it in training but you have to do it when it really matters. The pressure is huge and when you're down near the bottom, it's hard to escape. The quality is there but we needed a boost in confidence which this win has provided."

The midfielder, who left Lazio for Upton Park last summer, tried to remain positive during his lengthy time out. He said: "It was tough when I first found out the injury would take up to six months to heal but I wasn't frustrated. I tried to be positive and professional to get back as quick as possible. That, I think, was the reason why I was able to come back."

The midfielder received a standing ovation from the home support, who have nicknamed him "Der Hammer", when he was replaced after 72 minutes. The nickname was particularly apt given the ferocious pace with which he dispatched his strike and he was delighted to mark his debut with a goal and a man of the match display.

He added: "I have been waiting for this day for a long time and to start off with such a goal and good win like we had, it couldn't have been better."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence