West Ham star Dimitri Payet has called for renewed focus from his team-mates ahead of the weekend’s London derby against Arsenal.
Payet says a top-five finish – and guaranteed European football – is vital for West Ham as they look to continue to push into the upper echelons of the English game.
West Ham have already beaten Arsenal once this season, having defeated them on the opening day of the Premier League, and with a league double over Liverpool, Payet said one over Arsenal would be a huge boost to their chances of European football.
“We know it will be another tough game. Arsenal have a small hope of winning the title and they want to keep as close as they can to Leicester and Tottenham and also the Champions League positions,” he told the club’s official website.
“We are home and want to get the win. We are coming off a tough game against Crystal Palace, but we will prepare hard ahead of the match.
“It will be very tough but finishing in the top five will be a great season for us. That would guarantee European football next season which would be very important for the club as they continue to develop.
“Playing in Europe is important for clubs looking to progress. If you look at other clubs who have done that, you can see how far they come now. It is something that we want to do and become even bigger.”
The Arsenal match kicks off a massive week for the club, who will then welcome Manchester United to Upton Park for the last ever FA Cup game at the ground before the team move to London’s Olympic Stadium.
“It will be the last cup game at the stadium and we want to win it and get to Wembley for a semi-final and then hopefully the final,” Payet said.
“The whole group is very focused on that match as well, along with the fans.”