West Ham United take on Spanish Primera Division side RCD Espanyol in a friendly match on Thursday night, with defender Guy Demel looking forward to the test.

Demel, who has started all three of the Hammers' Barclays Premier League fixtures so far this campaign, believes taking on top European opposition in what promises to be a competitive encounter is what his team needs right now.

They are without a league fixture this weekend due to the international break, and having been defeated by Stoke City last Saturday, the Ivorian wants to get that result out of the system as soon as possible.

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"It will be a good game on Thursday because Espanyol is a good team," he said.

"They play nice football and we need this test in the international break. It's important to keep working, to get us fit and strong for the next game.

"It's especially important that we switch on [in this period], work hard and make sure we're in good shape to face Southampton after the last home game.

"So it's a good idea to come to Barcelona and play against such a good team. Our colleagues with their international teams will play a game at that level, so we can get a good game under our belts too now."

The Espanyol clash will mean the Hammers have taken on opposition from the top flights in Germany, Portugal and Spain since the end of last season and Demel is sure the variety of opposition faced can only help in the months ahead.

He continued: "It's always good to play against teams from different leagues, especially as now many teams play like those from Spain.

"Espanyol will look to keep the ball and pass it well, so it'll be good for our team shape and the way we move as a team without the ball, as well as for our offensive play."

Looking slightly further ahead, Demel is not worried by Saturday's 1-0 defeat to Stoke City and says the Hammers will be ready to put that right when they travel to Southampton in their next league fixture.

He added: "We lost our last game at home, and we didn't expect that so early in the season after our home form last year.

"So of course it is a disappointment, but if you look at the season so far we've only conceded one goal, from a set piece.

"Newcastle had one shot against us away from home, so defensively we're in good shape. Now we have to make sure that when we keep the ball, we capitalise on our chances.

"We'll work on that, the Premier League is the best league in the world, so when you have the chance to punish the opposition you have to take it.

"We've lost one game at home, we have to get the points somewhere else now, so we'll look at Southampton."

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