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Everton clash so crucial to our season - Ilunga

PUBLISHED: 11:19 06 November 2008 | UPDATED: 13:45 05 October 2010

By JONATHAN CLEGG HERITA ILUNGA has issued a rallying cry to his West Ham team-mates ahead of the club s match against Everton on Saturday after declaring that they have no choice but to beat the Toffees. The Hammers ended a sequence of four straight d

By JONATHAN CLEGG

HERITA ILUNGA has issued a rallying cry to his West Ham team-mates ahead of the club's match against Everton on Saturday after declaring that they have "no choice" but to beat the Toffees.

The Hammers ended a sequence of four straight defeats with a draw at Middlesbrough last weekend, but the club's winless run now stands at five games and defender Ilunga admits that it is vital they rediscover the winning habit.

"We came back from Middlesbrough with one point on Saturday. It was a great thing after the bad series of matches in the past weeks," Ilunga said on his official website.

"But there is only one regret - that we did not maintain our lead and score a [winning] goal at the end.

"[Now] there is no choice - the Hammers have to win against Everton this week."

Ilunga has emerged as a consistent performer at Upton Park after joining the club on a season-long loan from Toulouse in September, catching the eye with a series of energetic displays under Hammers boss Gianfranco Zola.

The Congo international has also struck up a rapport with the club's supporters, who were initially suspicious of his arrival only hours after the shock exit of George McCartney, which prompted former manager Alan Curbishley to resign in a row over transfer policy.

And the athletic full-back has revealed that he was moved by the sight of a Congolese flag among the West Ham supporters at the Riverside last weekend.

"I want to thank the person who came to watch the match [at Middlesbrough] with the Congo's flag," said Ilunga, whose birthplace has been torn apart by fresh outbreaks of conflict in recent months.

"I was very touched by this attention because I am very sad with all the problems that happened in the country of my birth."

Ilunga is expected to form part of an unchanged West Ham team against Everton after Hammers boss Gianfranco Zola expressed his satisfaction at the performance against Middlesbrough.

"We came into the game from four defeats and the players were great so I'm pleased with them," Zola said.

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