May 2, 2018 / 2:41 PM / a year ago

Soccer: Lanzini return can boost West Ham's survival bid, says Zabaleta

Soccer Football - Premier League - Huddersfield Town vs West Ham United - John Smith’s Stadium, Huddersfield, Britain - January 13, 2018. West Ham United's Manuel Lanzini celebrates scoring their fourth goal. Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff

(Reuters) - West Ham United midfielder Manuel Lanzini’s return to form can propel the club towards securing their Premier League spot for next season, team mate Pablo Zabaleta has said.

Argentina international Lanzini has been battling a persistent knee injury and played over an hour for the first time since March in last weekend’s 4-1 defeat by league champions Manchester City.

The 25-year-old also notched an assist as a second-half substitute in the defeat by Arsenal earlier this month and Zabaleta believes his compatriot’s gradual resurgence can help West Ham stay out of the relegation battle.

“Manuel is one of the most creative players in our team. He’s not had a good time in terms of injuries, but to have Manu back in the team is good news, so hopefully he can help us get some points in the next games,” the 33-year-old defender told West Ham’s website.

The defeat by City left West Ham in danger of being dragged into the relegation battle as they sit 15th in the league, three points and positions above 18th-placed Southampton with as many matches left in the campaign.

“Yes, Sunday’s result wasn’t good, but we have to forget that game, be positive and move into the next game thinking we can get the three points,” Zabaleta said.

“One more win, or four points, could be enough to be safe 100 percent. We cannot wait on Swansea (City), Southampton or Stoke (City) to keep dropping points. We have to think about West Ham and getting three points.”

The London outfit will be aiming for just their third away win in the league when they travel to ninth-placed Leicester City on Saturday.

Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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