He may be a new face to most West Ham United supporters, but Fabian Balbuena has plenty of experience to draw upon as the Hammers seek to turn their early-season form around at Everton on Sunday.
The 27-year-old had played more than 300 senior matches in South American football prior to his summer switch to the Premier League, winning the Brazilian Serie A title with Corinthians and reaching the final of the Copa Libertadores – the continent’s equivalent of the UEFA Champions League – with Paraguayan club Nacional.
With so many games under his belt, Balbuena is remaining calm about West Ham’s current position in the table and believes, after a productive international break on the training pitch, that Manuel Pellegrini’s side will put on an improved showing at Goodison Park.
My message to the supporters is that they continue supporting, that they continue believing in the team, that there is potential and that we have been working to give them joy
“We didn’t expect to start the season like this,” he admitted. “We had a lot of hope and our goals were different. We have made mistakes in specific moments of the matches but I think that, with work and with a lot of sacrifice, we will be able to reverse that and I think we have the players to do so.
“I think our first win will come soon, because of the way we are working to the maximum in training and in matches. As I said before, some mistakes are costing us points but we are focused on the work we have been doing and the confidence is still intact to continue growing as a team and we will reflect it on the pitch.”
While results have not gone to plan so far, West Ham supporters have been encouraged by Balbuena’s start to life in Claret and Blue.
The centre-back has shown a combination that Hammers fans love – composure in possession and aggression in the challenge – that, he hopes, will help his team achieve better results going forward – just as he did with his previous clubs on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.
“My message to the supporters is that they continue supporting, that they continue believing in the team, that there is potential and that we have been working to give them joy,” said the No4.
“We know that we have lost four games and that no fan is going to be happy, that would happen in all parts of the world, but we keep working, we remain committed and we know that we will move forward.
“The Premier League is something new for me now and I'm enjoying everything, training, games. Off the pitch I am also enjoying, getting to know the city with the family and trying to adapt as quickly as possible.”