English Premier League

Happy Hammer Manuel Lanzini sets sights on Argentina after netting Crystal Palace winner

The 1-0 win at Selhurst Park lifts Slaven Bilic’s side out of the Premier League relegation zone

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 16 October, 2016, 3:37pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 16 October, 2016, 3:39pm

West Ham United midfielder Manuel Lanzini is playing a key role in his team’s recovery from a poor start to the Premier League and hopes his form will earn him a chance to play for Argentina.

Lanzini, showing the same sharpness that put him in scoring positions at River Plate back home, struck a fine winner in a 1-0 victory at Crystal Palace on Saturday to lift his side out of the relegation zone.

Coach Slaven Bilic’s tactics with three central defenders and two wing backs paid off after a woeful early season that yielded a solitary 1-0 win at home to Bournemouth nearly two months ago and just one point from their previous five matches.

“[Bilic] always tells me more than anything to play, to make the team play and get into scoring positions, as well and to defend,” Lanzini said.

“He always tries to give me the confidence to score. He congratulated me, he has a lot of faith in me and I have a lot of faith in him.

“Luckily I was able to score so I’m happy for the team, we needed this victory.”

West Ham, who host Sunderland next, have struggled to settle at their new Olympic Stadium home in east London after finishing a creditable seventh last season, which was their last at Upton Park.

“We’ll have to get used to playing [at the new home], but we must continue on this path, I think we’ll be better and let’s hope this is the start of something good,” added the 23-year-old.

Good game today important 3 points ⚒⚽️ come on #coyi

A photo posted by Manuel Lanzini (@manuulanzini) on Oct 15, 2016 at 12:14pm PDT

Lanzini was injured in a warm-up for the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games in August and missed the tournament where Argentina crashed out in the group stage.

“It was a shame to, I would have loved to have gone, it was a very important tournament for me,” he said. “Now I’m getting over that and will try to get there again.

“It’s something I always think about, it’s my dream to play in the national team, I’d love to, but I know that this way, doing things well, I can get to have a chance and be there.”

Lanzini follows the Argentina team closely and watched them manage only two points from their last three outings, all without captain Lionel Messi.

Although Lanzini would love to help, he believes the best players are in coach Edgardo Bauza’s squad already and that they would turn things around in their remaining eight qualifiers.

“There are very good players, the majority stars in their teams, it’s a poor spell they are going through but I think they’ll move forward with work and sacrifice,” he said.

Argentina next face arch-rivals Brazil, who are on a run of four wins after putting their faith in half of the young team that won the Olympic gold.

“They have the confidence of the coach and winning the gold medal also gives you confidence,” said Lanzini.

“I think Argentina has to think about Argentina and improve their performance.”

Watch: Fullback Aaron Cresswell delighted to assist with Manuel Lanzini’s winner