Boleyn backing lifts Behrami

Valon Behrami has backed the West Ham United crowd to once again lift the team as they push for victory in Sunday's showdown with Everton.

The popular midfielder said the players "are a little bit more confident" after the 2-1 success against Aston Villa last Wednesday and predicted it would be the same with the fans. "Maybe the crowd are also more confident in us," he said. "We understood before if they were not very happy when were not winning. We felt the same way."

Behrami completed his first 90 minutes since April on Wednesday and, like team-mate Jack Collison who also played the whole game, is feeling fit and ready for the games ahead. Similarly Manuel Da Costa, with his first full run-out of the season, was also impressive in the fitness stakes to show that Gianfranco Zola's men are able to go the distance - a fact underlined by crucial added-time strikes in the previous two home matches.

Such visible determination can only fire the fans. "On Sunday they will again give us support because we need it especially with such a difficult opponent," Behrami said, warning of the threat posed by Everton. "It is very important for us, especially when we are where we are in the league. We have a lot of players working hard to find their condition. Everyone has to be patient with us and support us."

Behrami added all at the club were eager to experience that winning feeling again. "It was a new emotion for this season. We had gone a long time without a win. It was a great feeling after [Zavon Hines'] goal, everyone was excited. It was an unbelievable moment. It was what we deserved but we need to carry it on against Everton. It was fantastic for us."

The Villa victory was based as much on hard work as it was a piece of brilliance from Hines and Behrami typified the earnest endeavour within the ranks. "We just carried on playing, we tried to fight for every ball and deserved a bit of luck maybe. It is our time now perhaps. There have been a lot of games that we haven't deserved to lose. Villa could have been a draw but we won. That is great."

He was also unworried about the possibility that Herita Ilunga and Carlton Cole may both be missing - especially given the displays of Jonathan Spector and Zavon Hines when they entered the fray.

"Herita and Coley are two very important players and straight away when they were injured it was difficult to react for our heads, our character. Everyone knows what they mean to the side. But the players coming in did very well. We fought for every ball and challenged for every tackle. It is good to have a strong squad with people ready to come in and do a great job like they did."