Pablo Zabaleta believes Joao Mario will be a key man in driving the Hammers to a strong end of season.

Speaking to the official site the defender said: “Joao Mario showed his outstanding quality for us on Saturday.

“He has great technique and works hard for the team. On Saturday he played his best game for us so far and we were all happy for him.

“He took his goal really well and this his cross for Arnie was also fantastic. These moments are the difference in matches and Joao has the qualities to help us win more games, for sure.”

He added: “I’m very pleased with our performance. I thought the whole team was outstanding on Saturday. It was a huge result for both teams because we were only two points above them and we needed those three points.

“I thought our first half performance was really good, then in the second half we were obviously trying to manage the game to keep the clean sheet. We also had a few more chances and could have scored from them. I’m very pleased with the victory as it was very important.

“This is a great club with a great tradition in English football and with great fans who are so demanding. This is something I really like from them and, let’s be honest, we’ve not been great and our performances have not been good in the last three games, so we needed that win for them and for everyone.

“It’s still so tight at the bottom of the table, so we need to keep picking up points to be safe as soon as possible. We want to take this Club forward and the only way to do that is to perform consistently and that’s what the fans expect from this team.

“It’s time to be all together now and we showed that unity on Saturday and I’m very pleased for that.”