Pintus shows his value

The Christmas period is always a taxing one for players with the games coming thick and fast - but Antonio Pintus is confident West Ham United will rise to the challenge.

The popular fitness coach has settled right into the Chadwell Heath set-up and has nothing but praise for the way the first-team squad have reacted to his methods and expects the same again against Aston Villa this weekend. Although the team will play four games - three in the league and one in the FA Cup - between 20 December and 3 January, Pintus is not worried.

"I think we can cope with all the games," he said, during an exclusive interview with WHUTV. "We have done quite well in the last few games. We can cope with the fitness and I hope we can get the results like we did against Chelsea."

Speaking of the London derby, Turin native Pintus was especially pleased to see the team perform so positively against his former employers, where he worked before spells at Juventus and Monaco in close contact with top talent like Alessandro Del Piero and Emmanuel Adebayor.

"I arrived at Chelsea 12 years ago. I stayed for three seasons and it was the first time I had left my country as a professional fitness coach to work abroad. It was a fantastic experience for me to come back. It was a little strange going back to Stamford Bridge but fantastic because of the result.

"I am 110 per cent West Ham now and it is good because I think the players gave everything on the pitch as usual and it was a very great result. I am very happy." One of the players deserving of special mention was the tireless Valon Behrami, who has particularly impressed Pintus in the last three months.

"Genetically, Behrami has to thank god because as an athlete he is fantastic," said Pintus with a smile. "He could run a marathon but I shouldn't just speak of him. We have very good players in the team and they all do so well during the games."