A lean Julien Faubert was happy to be back in a West Ham United shirt for the first time in six months in Saturday's opening-day win at Wolverhampton Wanderers.

After spending the second half of last season on loan at Real Madrid, the 26-year-old returned to the Hammers in superb physical condition, having put himself through a strenuous personal fitness programme during the close-season.

The France international put in a strong performance at right-back, defending stoutly and getting forward to good effect. Having made his last competitive appearance in claret and blue against Hull City in January, Faubert told WHUTV he is now eager to make up for lost time and establish himself in Gianfranco Zola's starting eleven.

"It was good. It was the beginning of the season and we played well and got two goals, so everyone is happy.

"I think it was a strong performance from the whole team, but I felt good on the pitch. I can run and I can defend so I was happy for my own game and I was happy to win for the team."

The Le Havre-born player revealed that he had taken the decision to shape up after making just two La Liga appearances during his time in Madrid.

"I was careful about my food and what I ate. I did some big work and worked hard. I knew I had too much weight and I had to lose some. I have done some big work and come back strong and I felt good on the pitch.

"I went to the gym and I pushed some weights, I went running and did some weights."

Having got the season off to a flying start at Molineux, Faubert is hoping for big things in 2008/09.

"I think we are ready for the season. I know it is a long season and this was just the first game so we can't say it is done, but we can work to maybe finish in the top eight or seven teams. We have to work and be aware of the next game and we can do well.

"I am here and I am happy to be playing a lot of games and playing well. I hope to be back in the national team, so I need to do this. I went to Real Madrid, which was a different experience, but now I am back in London and I am ready to work for West Ham."

While the Barclays Premier League is Faubert and West Ham's priority, the full-back is also acutely aware of the importance of beating Millwall in the Carling Cup second round a week on Tuesday.

"I was talking with some players about this game and we are ready. We have to win. We are happy because we will be at home and we will have the fans with us, so we can win."