Herita Ilunga is fired up for Fulham showdown

Herita Ilunga has called for West Ham to show their fighting spirit against Fulham and kick-start the club's climb away from the Premier League drop zone

By JONATHAN CLEGG

Herita Ilunga has called for West Ham to show their fighting spirit against Fulham on Sunday and kick-start the club's climb away from the Premier League drop zone.

The Hammers slumped to a fourth successive defeat at Manchester City on Monday night and have dropped into the league's bottom three after failing to win since the opening day of the season.

West Ham have yet to collect a single point at Upton Park this season and Gianfranco Zola has admitted that this weekend's crucial home meeting with 17th-placed Fulham represents "a cup final" for his beleaguered team.


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Ilunga insists the Hammers are determined to overcome their London rivals and put their dismal early-season form behind them.

"We need to show a lot of character because this is a difficult period for us, Ilunga said.

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"But last year we had a difficult spell too and we need to put a good run together and I hope it starts on Sunday against Fulham."

"We're a team that plays very good football. You see it in training - we work a lot, the coaches insist on us playing football, keeping the ball, good possession.

"But we need to play and win at the same time - it's not enough to just play. We need results too."

The Congo international has urged his Hammers colleaues to tighten up defensively if they are to rediscover their winning habit.

West Ham have conceded nine goals in their past three matches and have failed to keep a clean sheet since the end of August.

Full-back Ilunga believes the team must now focus on keeping a clean sheet to see off Roy Hodgson's side on Sunday.

"We need to get back our winning mentality. It is a state of mind," said Ilunga, who this week made his third appearance since recovering from a head injury.

"We have to defend together, first of all, and then keep hold of the ball and get forward at the opposition.

"It is very important we get ourselves right mentally [and] recover our calm.

"We need to find the right spirit together and I hope it will happen at the weekend in front of our own fans. It's very important.

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