Joao Mario says his maiden West Ham United goal in Saturday’s 3-0 Premier League victory over Southampton is confirmation that he has settled into life in east London.
And while manager David Moyes labelled the midfielder’s performance his best in a Claret and Blue shirt, the midfielder was happy to have contributed to a positive and important result and is certainly not about to rest on his laurels.
“When you score, when you participate so well, it’s always nice to be a part of the good moments in a game, that is always good,” said the No18.
The Inter Milan loanee’s performance against the Saints saw him open his account for the Club with a rasping, rising shot from outside the penalty, opening the floodgates for the Hammers in front of a lively London Stadium crowd.
Having hit the net once, the 25-year-old is keen to continue contributing over the closing seven games of the season, having initially taken time to settle into English football.
“I’m really happy to be here and I’m enjoying it, you know. It was tough to come here in January and be at my best, but I’m trying to do my best right now and I’m happy.”
Next up for Joao Mario and his West Ham teammates is a trip to face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
The player faced the Blues twice in the UEFA Champions League while with Sporting Lisbon during the 2014/15 season, losing 3-1 in west London and 1-0 in Portugal, and is he eager to avoid completing an unwanted hat-trick on Sunday.
“We know it’s a different game [to Southampton], as we’re playing away. They’re an amazing team but we will do our best to get some points there. We’ll try to play as a team and have some continuity from the last game.”
The Hammers will have a chance to capitalise on an uncertainty inside the Chelsea ranks, with Antonio Conte’s team losing four and winning just two of their last seven matches in all competitions.
Regardless of the Blues’ form, Joao Mario insisted West Ham must be at their best to beat the Blues and further ease any lingering relegation fears.
“Chelsea is a big team and they have amazing players, so it’s never a good time to play against them. We’ll just try our best and we need to be ready.
“We need to fight until the end. Everyone knows the target of the Club, so we just need to be calm and play and we’ll stay in the Premier League, for sure.”