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Thomas Hitzlsperger hopes win boosts West Ham chances

West Ham celebrate Hitzlsperger's opener
Hitzlsperger's opener set West Ham on their way to a comprehensive victory

West Ham's Thomas Hitzlsperger believes the FA Cup victory over Burnley can give his team the confidence to avoid relegation from the Premier League.

The German midfielder made his Hammers debut after a six-month injury absence and scored first in the 5-1 win as they booked a quarter-final against Stoke.

"It's going to bring some confidence back to the camp," Hitzlsperger said.

"This is what we needed, I think, especially to win by such a great margin, 5-1 is a good win for us."

But despite reaching the last eight of the Cup, Avram Grant's side are still in the league's bottom three.

West Ham face Liverpool, Stoke, Tottenham and Manchester United in their next four league games as they battle to retain their Premier League status.

Hitzlsperger added: "With the games we have coming up, we're playing some really good teams so we need confidence and structure in our game.

"We can't make any mistakes because we need to climb up the table."

The 28-year-old's fine performance and goal at Upton Park on Monday ended an arduous period for the player who joined the Hammers from Lazio in June.

He initially injured his thigh playing for his country in August and then had a setback which kept him out for a further four months.

"I have been looking forward to this for a long time," the former Aston Villa player said.

"The reception I got was fantastic. I didn't expect it because I thought the fans had forgotten about me.

"The manager was speaking to me before the game about whether I would play 30 minutes or start, but I'm delighted to start with a goal and an important win for us."

West Ham boss Grant praised Hitzlsperger's display and promised more to come from the German.

"It's very important that Thomas is back, he can score from everywhere, he is an important player to us and we were waiting for him," Grant said.

"He was one of our best players in the preparation for the season and we have missed him so much because he got injured only a few days before the league started.

"He is a very good player and with the system we play, he will be important.

"He can do many things. He knows how to defend and score, like you have seen tonight.

"But what you have seen tonight is not half of what he can do."

Grant, whose side are second from bottom in the table, admitted he would happily take three points over a cup win, but he is content to continue a confidence-boosting run.

"Our target and first priority is the league, but it's always good to reach the quarter-finals of the cup," he said.

"We want to win every game. We know in the cup you lose one game and you are out, but in the league there is always the next game to make things better."

Burnley boss Eddie Howe felt his side performed well in the early stages, but once they were 2-0 down, they let the game get away from them.

"I thought it could have been very different," he said. "In the first half we had our moments, we had our chances and could have scored more than one.

"West Ham are dangerous in attack with the pace they have and they caught us out a couple of times.

"The goal straight after half-time hurt us, then we're chasing the game and they caught us on the break a couple of times."



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see also
West Ham 5-1 Burnley
21 Feb 11 |  FA Cup
West Ham v Burnley as it happened
21 Feb 11 |  Football
Keane to miss month with West Ham
22 Feb 11 |  West Ham
Man Utd to face Arsenal in FA Cup
02 Mar 11 |  FA Cup


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