Diamanti's delight

Birmingham City must be sick of the sight of Alessandro Diamanti.

West Ham United's Italian maestro marked his debut for the club with two sublime free-kicks in a 6-0 reserve-team humbling of the Blues at the Boleyn Ground last September.

On Wednesday, the 26-year-old completed a memorable hat-trick by curling an inch-perfect set piece past Joe Hart to set the Hammers on the way to a vital 2-0 Barclays Premier League victory.

Birmingham defender Scott Dann, in particular, must shudder every time he sees Diamanti, having started both matches and even conceded the free-kick that led to the midfielder's opener last night.

"There must be some lucky thing going on with Birmingham and free-kicks! But, on a serious note, I am very happy with the fact that we can start from this day on what we have been working on as a squad for a long time."

Diamanti and his team-mates have been desperate to secure a morale-boosting victory in recent weeks, while at the same time collecting three important points in their bid to climb the table.

Wednesday's success lifted West Ham to 14th, with a home game against Hull City next up on Saturday week. The left-sided player, a threat throughout against Birmingham, said the win had lifted the whole dressing room.

"It was a very, very positive result. We had so much will to win this game. We have tried so hard to get a win in the last few games but we couldn't. There was so much anger in the team to win the game.

"The reason we had anger in the team was not special. We always have it and we always try to win games. We have the same anger and the same will to win, but sometimes we win and sometimes we don't."

Diamanti has a look of focus and determination in his eyes when he talks about Wednesday's win, but that should be no surprise when you consider that he has worked so hard to reach the top of the game. As recently as the 2006/07 season, he was turning out for hometown club Prato in Serie C2 - the equivalent of England's League Two.

"Of course, for me, work ethic is the most important thing. I don't forget that, until four seasons ago, I was playing in Serie C2, playing at a different level. So, in order to get better, I needed to work hard. This was my philosophy. I believe that you get what you put into things, so I'm always working hard in training trying things like shots and free-kicks."

While Diamanti is keen to prove himself in the Premier League, he also devoted his goal to manager Gianfranco Zola. After seeing his free-kick hit the back of the net, he ran straight to a man who would no doubt have been proud to have produced such a perfect strike himself as a player.

"Obviously, I am like every other player and we are all behind the boss. He works very hard and is a top guy and is always the one who takes responsibility when we don't play well. He is always there for us, always encouraging us and always on our side. We don't forget this, so I was extremely pleased to win and when I scored, my first thought was for the boss."

Zola himself was delighted with his compatriot's breathtaking goal.

"He was saying 'I love you! I love you!'" the manager joked, before quickly clarifying what Diamanti had really said to him as the pair embraced on the touchline. "He was saying it was a goal for the team, for me and for my staff. That is what he was shouting."

With ten days to go until West Ham welcome Hull to the Boleyn Ground, Diamanti has time to celebrate his seventh goal of the season in traditional style.

"I'm from Tuscany, so I will drink some red wine!"