Fabian Balbuena has been one of West Ham’s best players since his arrival this summer and produced another strong performance in the 3-1 victory over Manchester United.
The central defender has adjusted to life in English football well and is an integral part of Manuel Pellegrini’s new high defensive line.
The Paraguayan international also paid tribute to the fans, after an afternoon that made the London Stadium feel a bit more like home.
In his own words
Speaking to the club’s official website, he said: “Always, as in every game we play at home, our fans are awesome and it is a great boost for us when we play at home. We have to give back that love and support on the pitch with good results.
“I think the team did things well, had a lot of attitude, and a lot of temperament playing at home with our people and we got a very good result against a great team.
“The early goal opened the game more, and allowed us to play more calmly as well, so that we had more space as they had to push forward a little more. And I think it was a great performance from all the boys and we need to continue like this.
“The manager congratulated us for the effort, for what we showed on the pitch and told us that was the way. We know that haven’t won anything more than a great match against a great rival. But we have a long way to go, many things to improve, but of course we are gaining in confidence and therefore we can work more calmly.”
Atmosphere can make stadium feel like home
It is telling that Balbuena praised the fans after arguably the best result of the season.
The Hammers need to build that bond with the supporters in the new stadium; more afternoons like Saturday’s is probably the quickest way to achieve that.
Balbuena is right to highlight the fact that the performance of the players is linked to a better relationship with that controversial stadium.
More attacking, ambitious performances like Saturday’s are the best way to move forward.