Hitzlsperger: Win sparks battle

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Thomas Hitzlsperger hopes that West Ham's 5-1 FA Cup victory over Burnley will be the spark that ignites their bid to avoid relegation.

Hitzlsperger made his Hammers debut against the Clarets after missing the previous six months with a serious thigh injury. The Germany international did not disappoint, firing home a 25-yard screamer to open the scoring for Avram Grant's side, who will now play Stoke in the quarter-finals.

Hitzlsperger now hopes that Monday night's win will boost the team's confidence and he said: "It's going to bring some confidence back to the camp and that's important with the games ahead of us. This is what we needed, I think, especially (to win) by such a great margin, 5-1 is a good win for us."

With tough games against Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham on the horizon, Grant's 19th-placed team know that they must go on a run to avoid dropping into the npower Championship.

Hitzlsperger also warned that any mistakes they make could prove costly as he added: "With the games we have coming up, we're playing some really good teams so we need confidence and structure in our game.

"We can't make any mistakes because we need to climb up the table."

Hitzlsperger was initially supposed to be out for eight weeks after sustaining his thigh injury in Germany's match against Denmark in August. But, after two months out, the 28-year-old suffered the agony of the muscle completely coming off the bone in training, severely lengthening his stay on the sidelines.

He was glad to make his Hammers bow after such a long and arduous journey back to fitness.

"I have been looking forward to this for a long time," he said. "The reception I got was fantastic. I didn't expect it because I thought the fans had forgotten about me.

"The manager was speaking to me before the game about whether I would play 30 minutes or start, but I'm delighted to start with a goal and an important win for us."

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Tottenham Hotspur
Stoke City
Manchester United
Thomas Hitzlsperger
West Ham United
FA Cup

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