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West Ham super sub: We can still make the top 10 this season

PUBLISHED: 12:22 04 March 2013 | UPDATED: 09:31 05 March 2013

Ricardo Vaz Te, West Ham United

Ricardo Vaz Te, West Ham United

PA Archive/Press Association Images

The Hammers Portuguese marksman Ricardo Vaz Te is buzzing with confidence after coming off the bench to inspire West Ham to victory at Stoke

West Ham forward Ricardo Vaz Te came on early to help spark the Hammers to their first away win since November and then declared that the team can still make the top 10 this season.

The Portuguese marksman came on after just 10 minutes of Saturday’s clash at the Britannia Stadium alongside fellow super sub Jack Collison following injuries to Matt Taylor and Joe Cole.

And it was the deadly duo who combined right on half time to give the Hammers a 1-0 victory over Stoke City.

“I remember in pre-season I said that the club should aim for the top 10 in the Premier League this season because of the magnitude of this club,” said the 26-year-old who has only scored one goal in a season hit by a shoulder injury back in October.

“That is my confidence and belief. We are a top 10 team, so I hope everyone else is on board and shares my belief.

“With me on the team I will try my best to make sure that is where we finish.”

Vaz Te missed almost three months of the season with his injury and since coming back, he has found himself restricted to mainly substitute appearances, including Saturday’s performance in Stoke.

“Since I have returned from injury, I have not had the chance to play too much, but everything is in place and I am working very hard to get my place back,” he said.

“Of course it is very frustrating, but I respect my team-mates, the manager is always the man who makes the decisions, so I have to keep on fighting, keep on improving because I feel that I can do better.”

He certainly made a case for himself on Saturday. He adds a little bit more of a cutting edge to the West Ham attack and it was he who set up Collison for the winning goal.

Collison almost returned the favour in the second half only for the chance to go begging, much to Vaz Te’s annoyance.

“I am pleased with my performance, but also a bit disappointed,” reflected Vaz Te. “In the second half we were winning 1-0 and I could have pretty much finished the game. I was very disappointed with the chance that I had, I think I should have at least had a shot and I am sure I would have scored.”

The effort, where he failed to get in a shot after being put in by Collison, certainly doesn’t seem to have hit his confidence.

“Since I joined the club my scoring record has been very good,” he said.

“People don’t know this, but I am still the highest goalscorer here since I joined the club. I was very unfortunate with the shoulder injury, but I am trying to get back to my best, to try and secure my place and get that trust from the manager again.”

He is hoping that Saturday’s performance propels him back into the starting line-up, though no game this weekend will be another frustration for Vaz Te.

He is not short on confidence though: “Before my shoulder injury we were in a comfortable eight position, so when I come back we are outside, but I think we can aim again,” insisted the former Barnsley striker.

“Now we have beaten Stoke City who were 10th, we now have 33 points and I think we can really look forward to the future.”

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