Daily News: Team news for Saturday, Victor Camarasa is a top target

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Lanzini – I had missed playing for our fans – West Ham Official Site

Manuel Lanzini made a perfect return to action with West Ham United on Sunday.

Lanzini completed ALL of his 33 passes in West Ham United’s thumping 5-1 Emirates FA Cup fifth round win at Blackburn Rovers.

The Argentine appeared as a substitute with the Hammers leading 2-1, before playing his part in goals for Emmanuel Emenike and Dimitri Payet as West Ham ran riot late on.

The No28, who was back in action after a six-week injury lay-off, told whufc.com he was delighted to make his reappearance in such a sensational team display.

“I am very happy to be playing again and happy also for the game and for the win,” said Lanzini.

“I want to be playing and taking the ball. This is my game and the way I play and this is the way I want to be playing my football.”

Lanzini painted pretty patterns all over the Ewood Park pitch, combining with two-goal Payet, Alex Song and Victor Moses to repeatedly carve open the Blackburn defence.

For a player who learned his craft at Argentine giants River Plate and Brazilian club Fluminense, the 23-year-old knows a thing or two about attacking football, and was impressed by what he saw on Sunday.

“We have Payet and he is an amazing player and is different from anyone else, just amazing!” he continued. “I played with Ariel Ortega at River Plate, Deco at Fluminense and some amazing players, and Payet is a very good player with a very good touch.

“I look at Payet and what he can do and it is crazy!”

Lanzini was also delighted to see new signing Emenike bag two goals on his full debut in a West Ham shirt, with the Nigerian having followed the same path to the Boleyn Ground from Emirati football.

“Emmanuel is a good player for us and I am very happy for him scoring two goals,” he confirmed. “That’s good for him.”

Lanzini will hope to return to the Barclays Premier League this Saturday, when the Hammers host struggling Sunderland in the lunchtime kick-off. Unsurprisingly, the popular South American is hungry to devour the Black Cats.

“We need to look at the next game and to pick up the three points because if we play like we did at Blackburn we can finish near the top,” he concluded.

“Our fans will be there again and that’s normal. They gave me a great welcome back on Sunday and I had missed playing for our fans.”

From the Newsroom – West Ham Official Site

Henry Winter is rated one of the best sports writers in the country and recently became the Chief Football Writer at The Times after spending over 20 years at the Daily Telegraph. Henry has over one million followers on Twitter and is predicting big things for West Ham in the final few months of the season.

I was at the West Ham game against Blackburn on Sunday and I have to say how impressed I was with the way the team performed at Ewood Park.

I thought there was such a strong spine to the team and James Collins looked so solid at the back.

There has been a lot said about Dimitri Payet but I thought he was sensational and was beating players for fun. He is an entertainer and plays with a smile on his face.

He has the perfect marriage with the West Ham United supporters and you have to credit the owners for giving him a new contract so quickly when other clubs might have shown an interest in wanting to sign him, considering the amazing form he he has shown for the Club this season.

I think it is brilliant for West Ham that he is not in the France squad at the moment.

Clearly he should be called up, but if it means that he is resting up over the international break and will have the summer off, that can only benefit the Club next season.

It was the perfect day for the Hammers at Blackburn with over 7000 fans cheering them on and it is a good snapshot of the season that they have now reached the quarter finals and stand a big chance of getting to Wembley.

The club have got a big move coming up during the summer and reaching FA Cup Final would be a wonderful way to mark the final ever season at the Boleyn Ground.

Who can forget the last big cup tie when Ogbonna scored in the final few seconds and the amazing atmosphere around the whole ground.

If they manage to get a replay against Manchester United it would be another special evening for the last ever FA Cup game at Upton Park.

I would be surprised if they don’t get through against Manchester United. The team spirit is fantastic and West Ham are certainly United at the moment.

Slaven Bilic impresses me more every time I see him and he has been fantastic for the club this season.

I can still remember having dinner with him when he was Croatia manager in Zagreb and you could tell he had something about him. He is obviously very intellectual with his degree in law.

I love the way he stands there every game on the touchline in his suit with his top button undone and he is there in his element.

He is a warrior and a winner and you can see how the players respect him.

Even when he is talking in the post-match press conferences he offers so much and none more so than after the Blackburn result when he was talking about taking up poetry to find some new words to describe Payet. He is a joy for the media.

I believe West Ham are in a very good place at the moment and with Bilic at the helm, anything is possible.

The quality is there for the Hammers to finish in the top six and I expect them to finish above Manchester United.

Antonio – Payet is a dream to play with – West Ham Official Site

West Ham United midfielder Michail Antonio reveals it is a dream to play with Dimitri Payet and says he helps to get the best out of everyone in the squad.

Payet stole the show once again during the Emirates FA Cup Fifth Round tie against Blackburn when he scored another sublime free-kick and then went on a great solo run and produced a great piece of skill to score his second at the end of a convincing 5-1 victory at Ewood Park.

The French star has been rewarded for his superb form this season with a new contract which will keep him at the Boleyn Ground until 2021.

And Antonio hopes he can continue to play his part in a memorable season for the Club as they look to reach Wembley and win the Emirates FA Cup this season.

Antonio said: “Dimitri Payet is a dream to play with and he is definitely the best player I have played with in my career.

“His vision, his work-rate – he is not one of these flair players that makes everyone else get the ball for him and then does damage. He will go and win the ball back himself and then cause damage.

“He does both – the gritty side and the flair.

“You saw in the Blackburn game that players are looking to mark Dimitri and it allows other players like Victor Moses to burst clear into holes and that is how he scored a goal.

“Manchester United at Old Trafford (in the quarter finals) is a big game and is where I started playing again in the first-team and it is a great stage to play on.”

Antonio also has nothing but praise for the way Slaven Bilic has managed to get the best out of the whole squad and says it was one of their best performances of the season against Blackburn on Sunday.

Antonio added: “We gelled perfectly on Sunday and Blackburn got the brunt of it. I think that is probably the best we have performed all-round.

“Defensively and in attack we all gelled well together and switching the play, that is the best we have performed.

“Slaven remains calm and even in games when he feels we should be doing better, he will come in and say ‘boys we have the ability to get back in there and I believe in you.’

“Even if we don’t get the points he wants us to show we can do better and make him proud.”

West Ham transfer news: Victor Camarasa tops wishlist as Slaven Bilic prepares for life at Olympic Stadium – The Independent

The 21-year-old is rated as one of the best young midfielders in La Liga

West Ham United have targeted Levante midfielder Victor Camarasa as they begin to prepare for their first season in the Olympic Stadium.

Slaven Bilic’s side, sat in seventh in the Premier League, are facing the prospect of European football next season and have identified the Spain under-21 international as part of their summer of ambitious recruitment.

Camarasa is rated as one of the best young midfielders in La Liga, and is an integral part of the side who are currently struggling second from bottom in the table. If Levante are relegated to the Segunda Division they will have to sell Camarasa, and West Ham are confident that they could sign him for as little as £3million this summer.

Stoke City were thought to be interested in him during last month’s transfer window, before settling for the higher-profile Gianelli Imbula of Porto instead, while Newcastle United were also keen.

21-year-old Camarasa is an imposing box-to-box midfielder who has caught the eye this season with his ability from dead-ball situations and eye-catching goals from long range. If he came to West Ham he would compliment their already powerful midfield options of Cheikhou Kouyate, Mark Noble and Pedro Obiang.

West Ham have already started their ambitious planning for their new era by tying Dimitri Payet to a new £125,000 per week deal which will last until 2021. With more contracts on the way for their biggest players, as well as a summer of signings, West Ham are hoping to step into the ranks of England’s bigger clubs.

“Many other clubs are selling clubs,” Slaven Bilic said at a press conference last month. “But we are moving stadium, we are talking and acting like we are going to try – not overnight – but trying to go up as a club. For me, the most important thing regarding that is not to sell your best players.”

Speaking before Payet signed a new deal, Bilic said that him staying at the club would help to attract new players. “Keeping Payet would attract other players as well,” Bilic said. “Because they would think not only about playing with Payet, but that West Ham thinking big and long term.”

Bradford City can call on Cullen for Blackpool trip – Telegraph & Angus

CITY are confident Josh Cullen will be fighting fit for a trip to the seaside.

Cullen was sorely missed in the 2-2 draw with Rochdale after proving an instant hit in his first two loan appearances – which were both won.

But the West Ham midfielder has recovered from the stomach bug that kept him out and is back training again ahead of Saturday’s visit to Blackpool.

The teenager was named on the bench last weekend but Phil Parkinson revealed he had no plans to play him.

The City boss said: “Josh was never close to starting. It would have been asking a lot for a young lad new to league football who had hardly eaten from Tuesday onwards.

“We thought we’d keep him involved by putting him on the bench but only planned to bring him on in case of an emergency.

“When you pick up a sickness bug like that, your hydration levels aren’t great or your energy. You’ve always got to be careful.

“It would be the same if it was one of our senior players, like Rory McArdle or Stephen Darby. If they had been sick and hadn’t been able to train properly, we wouldn’t have risked them playing.

“We’ve had a bit of illness round the squad – but Josh was able to train again on Monday and we’re building him up gradually through the week.”

The lingering effects of the illness may have been a contributing factor in City’s below-par display against Rochdale, when they struggled to rediscover the form that had seen off Peterborough and Southend.

James Meredith has since missed training because of it and Lee Evans had been feeling unwell before the weekend.

Parkinson said: “We can play better, we know that. There are things we need to do better going into the Blackpool game this weekend. But when you look at the week we’ve just had, seven points from nine is a good return.

“It’s always frustrating when you’ve got the chance to make it nine from nine. It shows that when you’re playing the teams who are perceived to not be as strong because they are in the bottom half, there’s not much difference.

“When they are really up for it, like Rochdale were at the weekend, it can be very difficult, although we weren’t as good as we have been.”

West Ham to face Manchester United in final game at Boleyn Ground after fixture clash – Evening Standard

West Ham’s final match at Upton Park before they move to the Olympic Stadium this summer is set to be a midweek clash against Manchester United.

Hammers fans are expecting their Premier League game against Swansea on Saturday  May 7 to be their farewell to the  Boleyn Ground, the club’s home for 112 years.

However, West Ham’s FA Cup run has complicated matters, meaning their last match is likely to be a rearranged League meeting with Louis van Gaal’s side on either Tuesday May 10 or Wednesday 11.

The Hammers and United will meet in the quarter-finals of the Cup in the middle of next month and are also due to play in the League on April 23. However, the latter date clashes with the Cup semi‑final, meaning the League game will be moved.

The only two clear weeks remaining this season start on  April 18 and May 9. However, the first of those is likely to be taken up by the League matches that clash with the Cup quarter-final — West Ham were due to host Watford on March 12 while United were set to face Crystal Palace.

Other midweek dates are set aside for UEFA competitions and an international break. United are still in the Europa League and will aim to overturn a 2-1 deficit against Midtjylland in the second leg of their last-32 tie tomorrow.

However, should they go out that would not solve the issue as UEFA insist that major domestic clashes are not held on Champions League or Europa League nights.

A date for West Ham’s game with United has not been confirmed but there seems no room for manoeuvre, meaning Slaven Bilic and his side are set to sign off from Upton Park under the floodlights. Their final match of the season is away to Stoke on May 15.latter date clashes with the Cup semi‑final, meaning the League game will be moved.

Nigel Winterburn backs West Ham to maintain position in Premier League – Playwithalegend.com

Former West Ham United defender Nigel Winterburn has told Playwithalegend.com that the Hammers are capable of maintaining their current position in the Premier League.

West Ham have finished in 13th and 12th place respectively in the last two years, but Slaven Bilic has transformed the Upton Park outfit into a side who have ambitions of qualifying for Europe ahead of their switch to the Olympic Stadium.

The East Londoners currently sit in seventh position in the table – ahead of the likes of Liverpool, Everton and Chelsea – while they are just a point adrift of Manchester United, who are in fifth position.

Winterburn, who made 94 appearances for West Ham between 2000 and 2003, has insisted that remaining in seventh place should be considered a positive achievement, but he has backed Bilic’s men to aim higher.

When asked what would be considered an acceptable position, the 52-year-old said: “Anywhere above where they are now. They’ve done well away from home, got a fantastic squad.

“They will definitely finish high up the league. I would say anywhere between seventh to fifth would be a good season for them.”

As well as losing just six times in 26 league games, West Ham are enjoying a run in the FA Cup, with last weekend’s 5-1 demolition of Blackburn Rovers earning the club a place in the quarter-finals of the competition.

Before Bilic’s arrival, West Ham had only reached that stage of the tournament once in the past nine years.

West Ham defender Angelo Ogbonna has cheeky message on Twitter for Italy coach

West Ham United have been in excellent form this season and much of that form is down to some shrewd recruitment in the summer.

The club of course brought in star player Dimitri Payet, but the impact of Italian defender Angelo Ogbonna cannot go unnoticed.

He was signed from Juventus in a deal reported by the BBC to be worth around £10 million.

He has since gone on to feature 20 times for the club this season and even found the back of the net with a crucial header to knock Liverpool out of the FA Cup.

His form will, he hopes, be catching the attention of his national team boss Antonio Conte.

He posted this cheeky photo and message for the Italy head coach on his Twitter account yesterday:

Angelo Ogbonna ✔ ‎@OgbonnaOfficial

Who knows if Mr. Conte has my English number??!! #WholivedhopingdiedIcantsayhow #NationalTeam #Azzurri #Italy

6:16 PM – 23 Feb 2016

Ogbonna currently has 10 caps for the Italian national team, after making his debut in 2011. However he last played for Italy back in October 2014 as a late substitute against Malta and has not been in contention for some time.

Hopefully the West Ham player can catch the eye of Conte and get his chance to shine in the European Championships this summer.

Slaven Bilic has a major selection headache ahead of this weekend’s home clash with Sunderland – and for a change, it’s a positive one – KUMB

Strike duo Diafra Sakho and Andy Carroll – along with central defender Winston Reid – have all returned to first team training today, leaving the manager with a considerable dilemma ahead of this weekend’s Premier League encounter at the Boleyn Ground.

Sakho – who has been out of action since the end of November with a thigh muscle injury – was widely considered to be the club’s first choice striker prior to being sidelined.

However loan signing Emmanuel Emenike – the only available striker for last weekend’s trip to Blackburn – scored twice at Ewood Park on Sunday, staking his claim for a start against the North East side this Saturday.

Meanwhile Carroll, who has once again endured a stop/start season is also in contention having shaken off the minor knock sustained during the 1-0 defeat at Southampton a fortnight ago.

At the other end of the field Winston Reid’s return means both Angelo Ogbonna and James Collins, who has been in imperious form this season both find themselves facing a challenge for a first team spot.

There is also further good news on the defensive front with recent signing Sam Byram once again available for selection. The young full back was Cup tied for last weekend’s trip to Lancashire, having featured for former club Leeds United in an earlier round of the competition.

Although neither Enner Valencia or James Tomkins will be available for this weekend’s clash with former manager Sam Allardyce’s current side, Manuel Lanzini – who returned against Blackburn on Sunday – is expected to feature once again.

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