Edimilson Fernandes is targeting a return to the West Ham United starting XI in Sunday’s London derby at Chelsea.
The Swiss midfielder made his comeback after four months out with a troublesome ankle injury on Saturday, impressing after being introduced as an early substitute in the 3-0 Premier League victory over Southampton at London Stadium.
The energetic No31 made a team-high four tackles and regained possession for his team seven times, most notably when he won the ball from Saints midfielder Pierre-Emile Højbjerg to start the move for West Ham’s second goal.
Having been on the side-lines for so long, the 21-year-old was delighted to make such a positive impact on his restoration to the matchday squad. Now, he is hoping to be handed an opportunity from the kick-off at Stamford Bridge.
“It was a good return for me and a good match for the whole team and I just hope we can continue like that,” Fernandes told whufc.com. “After four months, it was a big pleasure to return in a good match like that. It was class. I was just pleased to be back on the pitch. It was a good performance from the team and I feel strong, which I am happy about.
“It was difficult to be out for so long, physically and psychologically, not playing and not training on the pitch alongside my teammates, so that’s why I was so eager to return and why it is so good to be back.”
Next up for the Hammers is a trip to west London, where Fernandes is relishing the prospect of testing himself against the likes of Eden Hazard, Willian and Cesc Fabregas.
Eighteen months on, the Sion-born star hopes his injury issues are behind him and he can make another positive impression against Antonio Conte’s men this weekend.
“Chelsea is a good game and I am hoping we can play well again, like we did against Southampton in our last match.
“I am also hoping I can be involved again and that, if I am, I do not perform badly as this is another important match for the team, just like the previous one.
“Chelsea have some big players and I prefer to test myself against the best, which is normal for any professional player, and I am hoping I can play well against them.”