Guy Demel believes Tuesday's impressive 3-1 win against Hamburger SV is a result of the hard work the West Ham United squad have put in during their time in Germany.
A headed goal apiece from Alou Diarra and James Tomkins and a penalty from Ravel Morrison wrapped up an encouraging result against the team that finished seventh in last season's Bundesliga. The result more than made up for the disappointing start to the three-game German tour, when the Hammers lost 4-1 to FSV Mainz 05 on Saturday, with Demel citing the intense training schedule as the key reason for the turnaround in fortune.
"It was a great response to the defeat against Mainz on Saturday," Demel told West Ham TV. "I think the lads on Saturday didn't have a great game but the most important thing is the physical work during the friendly games.
"As a team we learned from that mistake and as a team we responded. We worked hard during the week and it is good to win when you're in pre-season as it gives you the confidence to keep working hard."
Although Demel added his usual attacking threat to a much-improved collective defensive showing, it was the Hammers' forward play that really impressed. Central to that was Matt Jarvis, who provided assists for all three goals - two corners for Diarra and Tomkins and a tricky run that ended in a foul to win Morrison's penalty.
"Hamburg are a team that like to keep the ball and try to go forward but as a team we were compact and when we won the ball we looked to use outlets like Matt to go forward.
"When you have a player like Matt or Modibo [Maiga], who can hold the ball and win headers, along with Ravel, who is a good talent, then you can play the counter-attacking football. We know Matt's quality as we know if you can find space in behind he will cause the opposition problems."
Tuesday's result at the Flensburger Stadion was all the more special for Demel as he spent seven years at Hamburg before joining West Ham. He spent much of his time in the tunnel area before and after the game catching up with old friends. Although he admits it was nice to reminisce with his former colleagues, his focus now is very much on his life in London and exceeding last season's tenth-place Barclays Premier League finish.
"It was nice to see some old team-mates and the fans of the Club. But my life is in London now with West Ham so I focus on that. I enjoyed my time in Hamburg but I don't think about the past and I only look forward.
"I played seven seasons and I always gave my best and the fans liked that which was why they gave me a good reception.
"With West Ham, we're going to try to finish at least as high again. I think other people would be happy to stay in the league but we are West Ham and we must have more expectation than that."
Overall, the former Ivory Coast international feels the seven days spent in Germany so far has been worthwhile, adding that the fitness levels are even better than at this stage last summer.
"It has been a great week in Germany. The first game gave us an idea of how far along we were. Although it was hard, it was important to have that physical test. I think we will get better and better and we are fitter than we were at this stage last season so we should be fitter at the start of the season.
"The Gaffer told us to we have to push for more than that as this season is going to be harder than last season, so we must all focus on being fit for the new season and deliver a new season that will make our fans happy."
West Ham will complete their stay in Germany by taking on Bundesliga new boys Eintracht Braunschweig on Saturday afternoon, with kick-off at the Eintracht-Stadion at 3.30pm local time.