Andriy Yarmolenko: Watford fixture is a chance to show each other we are a team
For years, decades even, West Ham United have raised their game against the so-called top sides, but failed to produce the goods consistently against the division’s supposed lesser lights.
This season, for example, the Irons have done the double over Chelsea and defeated Manchester United, but lost home and away to Burnley and Crystal Palace.
Andriy Yarmolenko says that is a habit the Hammers simply have to shake off if they are to thrive in the future, starting with Friday's Premier League fixture with Watford at London Stadium.
West Ham completed a double over bottom side Norwich City with a thumping 4-0 win at Carrow Road on Saturday, and can do likewise with a victory over the 17th-place Hornets.
We have to play much better and now it’s just a chance to show each other we are a team. We have to support each other
“[Our form since the restart is] not perfect, but it’s not bad,” he told Friday's Official Programme. “We beat Chelsea and for us it was a good result, but our problem this season is I think we play well against the big teams and we have to play much better against teams like Burnley.”
The Ukraine international played an influential role in the win over Chelsea, scoring a memorable last-minute winner at London Stadium, but admitted his form dipped again in the home defeat by Burnley.
And the No7 knows he simply cannot afford to produce another subpar performance against Watford, who kick-off below West Ham on goal difference.
“Against Chelsea it was a great game for us, but I don’t want to speak about my role,” he continued. “I just want to say it was really a good game from West Ham. We have to fight for every point and we showed we are West Ham and we showed to our fans we play for them and I think it was a great game from all the West Ham players.
“[Against Burnley] my game wasn’t good. I need to play much better. I know this and I think our manager knows how I can play, so I just to work, keep pushing, keep working and try to win every game.
“We lost the [Burnley] game and we have to do everything much better – defend better, attack better, do our build-up better, everything.”
With his experience, his class and his character, Yarmolenko is a natural leader, and he has called on his teammates to give their all to keep the Hammers up.
“We work hard every day and all the players are sad about this situation because this season for us has not been really good. We have to play much better and now it’s just a chance to show each other we are a team. We have to support each other.
“I hope we will stay in the Premier League and we will play much better next year.”