- Masuaku is in line for fifth straight Premier League start as Hammers travel to Stoke
- Frenchman is enjoying run in the team after recovering from injury
- Defender believes Hammers can still finish in the top half of the Premier League table
Arthur Masuaku is blossoming at the end of his first season as a West Ham United player, and he believes the team are well set to enjoy a strong close to the campaign.
The Hammers can hit the 40-point mark with victory at Stoke City and still have designs on a top-half finish, with only two points separating them from Southampton in ninth.
An injury to Aaron Cresswell handed Masuaku his chance in the team at the start of April and he has responded well, helping Slaven Bilic’s men keep clean sheets against both Swansea City and Everton.
The Frenchman says those displays have helped reinforce their self belief ahead of season-closing games against the likes of Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool.
He said: “The win against Swansea gave us confidence and since then we have played better. We defended very well [against Everton] and we have to build on the Swansea victory to improve over the last four games.
“We are defending together and we are much more compact as a team.
“It was only about confidence because we know how to play football. I think we are a good team, and [when the results were going against us] it was difficult, but we believe in ourselves.”
Masuaku was a summer arrival from Olympiacos and has had a stop-start campaign due to injury, but is delighted to now be able to show what he can do.
He explained: “When I was young I used to play as a winger. In my game, I like to defend, be strong in that aspect, but I like going forward too.
“The manager told me that I just have to play my football as I know. I’m strong and I’m fast, and if I can help the team with some crosses that’s great.
“It’s much better when you play a game and you know that you’re not at the bottom of the table.
“For us, it’s key to keep on gaining confidence as it means you can play with freedom.
“If we win against Stoke, for me, we’re definitely safe, but we are looking up in the table. We have four games as we can do something good, because we are looking to be in the top twelve.”