Arthur Masuaku says West Ham United have a ‘big opportunity’ to take a ‘great step’ towards Premier League safety when they host Stoke City on Monday evening.
The Hammers go into their London Stadium meeting with the Potters seven points clear of Paul Lambert’s side in the table, but the gap between themselves and the bottom three could be down to three points if Southampton defeat Chelsea.
West Ham themselves defeated the Saints and held the Blues in their last two fixtures, with Masuaku marking his own return from a six-match suspension with two outstanding personal performances, and the wing-back wants to make it three positive results in a row.
If we take the game as we played against Southampton or Chelsea, I think we’ll win this game
“The draw at Chelsea was good for the confidence after a great win against Southampton,” said the No26. “The most important thing for us was not to lose and a point was good for us, and we can look forward for the next game against Stoke City.
“I feel like we have the fans with us. Before the game against Southampton, we were a bit in trouble and the way we played, I think the fans were happy. We had a good game collectively, as a team, so they saw the effort they want us to show and some quality.
“It’s a big opportunity because they are behind us and we can put ten points between them and us. If we take the game as we played against Southampton or Chelsea, I think we’ll win this game.
“We just have to play like we have played, to be strong and compact. We don’t need to put any extra pressure on ourselves.
“We don’t feel safe yet but if we beat Stoke City, we can make a great step, because it will be nine points [if Southampton lose to Chelsea on Saturday]. Let’s win first, then we will see. We didn’t set a target. We will take it one game at a time.”
Masuaku has impressed since his return, assisting a Marko Arnautovic wondergoal against Southampton before helping the Hammers collect a resilient point at Stamford Bridge.
In the latter, West Ham owed a great deal to goalkeeper Joe Hart, who produced a Man of the Match performance, earning the glowing report from the wing-back.
“For me, he is the No1 ‘keeper for England. He wasn’t playing for a while, but now he’s back and he’s doing great and showing what he can do. The draw against Chelsea was because of him, so well done.”
At the other end of the pitch, Masuaku also had warm words for Arnautovic, who followed his two-goal show against the Saints with an assist for Chicharito’s equaliser at Chelsea.
“This guy Marko is a beast. I think he can be a top player if he keeps going like this. We all know what he is capable of and, in his mind, he is enjoying the game. I think the team and manager have given him confidence, so he’s just playing like he can play.”
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