West Ham would not have beaten Crystal Palace on Saturday without the contribution of Simone Zaza, according to boss Slaven Bilic.
The Italy international has had a difficult start to life at the London Stadium following his season-long loan move from Juventus and has yet to find the net in six appearances for the Hammers.
Before the win at Selhurst Park, Zaza’s performances had been much maligned but he responded with his best showing in a West Ham shirt in the 1-0 triumph at Palace.
Bilic says Hammers fans finally got to see the real Zaza against the Eagles and hopes he can replicate that kind of match-winning performance going forward.
“He was different class,” Bilic said. “I told him after the game that this is the Zaza I know from Sassuolo and Juventus.
“The goals will come, the goals are very important for the strikers but I want to see him like this.
“I told him after the game, ‘Zaza, tonight you won more balls in the air against two centre halves than you did in four or five games so far.’
“Without him we wouldn’t have won, it’s as simple as that.”