By Simon Peach, Press Association Sport
West Ham midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger has urged his team-mates not to rest on their laurels following their recent renaissance.
The Germany international joined the Hammers from Lazio in the summer but did not make his debut until February due to a longstanding thigh injury.
Hitzlsperger’s first appearance came in the 5-1 FA Cup fifth-round demolition of Burnley, before helping West Ham to consecutive Barclays Premier League victories over Liverpool and Stoke.
The 28-year-old has netted twice in his first three matches and has become a key part of Avram Grant’s side, whose recent form has propelled them out of the relegation zone.
While Hitzlsperger admits he is delighted to be playing again, West Ham still linger dangerously close to the precipice and he knows there are plenty of hurdles still to overcome.
“I’m enjoying being back playing again,” he told West Ham TV. “That’s three games and three wins, so what more could I ask for? “I’ve scored again on Saturday and it’s a pure joy being out there. The fans are behind us and there is a very good atmosphere.
“We’re in a difficult phase at the moment, but we seem to be handling the pressure very well.
“The business is not finished yet, though. There is a long way to go and we’re looking forward to it.”
Much of West Ham’s change in fortunes has been due to the midfield triumvirate of Hitzlsperger, Scott Parker and Mark Noble.
Speaking on their understanding, he added: “I think there is a very good understanding, even though we haven’t played many games with each other.
“All three of us in midfield like to have many touches of the ball and to change our positions and be creative.”
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