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Collison targets European spot as Hammers reach seventh heaven

PUBLISHED: 17:48 04 March 2009 | UPDATED: 14:09 05 October 2010

Jack Collison is confident that West Ham can secure a seventh-place finish in the Premier League and qualify for Europe next season

By JONATHAN CLEGG

Jack Collison is confident that West Ham can secure a seventh-place finish in the Premier League and qualify for Europe next season.

Hammers midfielder Collison scored the only goal in last weekend's defeat of Manchester City to continue the club's resurgence under manager Gianfranco Zola.

The result lifted West Ham into the league's top seven for the first time since October and puts the club within sight of a spot in next season's UEFA Cup, which will be rebranded as the Europa League.

Now Collison is determined to crown his breakthrough campaign by keeping the Hammers ahead of the chasing pack and ending West Ham's three-year European exile.

He said: "Europe is still on the radar. Seventh is the target for us and we're hoping by the end of the season that will be good enough for a UEFA Cup slot.

"We've got 10 games now until the end of the season and we are going to look to kick on now rather than see the season out.

"It shows the way the club wants to be moving.

"This team always looks to go and play good football, that's what the manager wants from us and if we can keep winning games and keeping clean sheets, we can consolidate seventh."

Hammers boss Zola also underlined his European ambition after Tottenham's defeat in the Carling Cup final opened the door for West Ham to play in the Europa League.

Though a place in Europe is currently restricted to the top six sides in the Premier League, the team finishing in seventh will also earn a European berth if both FA Cup finalists are both already assured of qualification.

Zola said: "If the combinations are right for us we might be able to play in Europe next season so we are fighting to keep this spot.

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