Nikola Vlašić: Manuel Lanzini deserves his goals
Niksi Vlašić has been thrilled to see Manuel Lanzini return to his best form in recent months – especially after admiring his talents from afar prior to his move to West Ham United last summer.
Vlaśić played his part in setting up Lanzini’s opener in Sunday’s 2-0 Emirates FA Cup third round win over Leeds United, a goal which took the Argentine’s tally to six for the season and three in his last two games.
Lanzini has battled down a long road to return to his levels following injury problems, but Vlašić was always sure he’d shine again after taking a keen interest in his talents when watching Premier League football during his CSKA Moscow days.
“I think Manu deserves it,” the Croatia international said. “Even before I came here when I watched West Ham I’d associate them with Manuel Lanzini and Mark Noble, so I’m really happy I’m now part of the team.
“To be honest I’d always look at how Lanzini played because I like his style and he showed again on Sunday that he’s a great player."
Vlašić was delighted to taste victory on his first experience of FA Cup football with the Hammers, particularly given that Leeds provided a stern and unique test.
“It was a good game against a tough opponent,” he continued. “Leeds play a different game to other teams – they play man-on-man so it was really hard but we won the game and I think we deserved it.
“I grew in confidence through the game, especially in the second half when I was more on the ball, going one-on-one and linking play. I felt really good today.”
The 24-year-old is now hoping to take that form into this week’s Premier League meetings with Norwich City and Leeds United, and could be given a run in the team with Saïd Benrahma on international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations.
“We are full of confidence after two wins in the Premier League and now the FA Cup,” he added.
“It’s Norwich first and then Leeds again and we’re on a good path. We just want to continue to win the games.”