West Ham winger Marko Arnautovic has said he feels 'at home now' having hit a fine run of form for the Hammers.
The winger gave an exclusive interview to whufc.com. and admitted it was hard to deal with a negative reaction from the fans at first, but he has now developed a good relationship with them.
Turning into a true Hammer and fan favourite— Trevor Salmon (@salmontrevor) February 21, 2018
“It hurt me in the beginning when I heard people whistling me in the stadium because they expected me to do better,” Arnautovic said, “but now I am playing for my team and playing for the fans because the fans are a big part of this Club. They pay a lot of money the whole year to come and watch us and, of course, they want us to perform.
“I always had a good relationship with the fans, wherever I have played. Of course, not all the fans can love you, because everyone has their own favourite.
“Personally, I have always loved my fans and had a good relationship with them, because they give you the good feeling on the pitch and, without them, you are nobody in football.”
After scoring against Watford recently, Arnautovic celebrated by pointing both index fingers to the ground, to signify that he has returned to the starting eleven and is there to stay.
“The celebration was like ‘I’m back’ because I had been out for three weeks, and also gives a sign that I am here and I want to help the team and to enjoy the fans. I do the ‘Crossed Hammers’ sign because it is part of this Club and they love to see this.
“I feel at home now. We are all one big family and it doesn’t matter if it is hard or it is a good time. It’s easy to stick together in the good times, but it has to be that we all want to also stick together in the bad times, as this shows what a big family we are. That’s what I always want in this Club.”
The 28-year-old admitted is takes him time to settle in to a new side. Although he doesn't like this, he now feels more motivated than ever to work hard for West Ham and their fans.
“When I came to Stoke, it took me six months to settle in, and the same happened here. I didn’t want this to happen, as I wanted to make an impact immediately at West Ham, but everything was going around and I was obviously in the spotlight because I came for a lot of money and didn’t perform how I wanted to or how the fans were expecting of me.
“Now, I feel fit and had a lot of talks with my family and got into myself and said ‘Let’s go Marko, you need to change things, try your best and work even harder’ and I’m happy things are going well and I can help the team.
“I want to keep this level and I am sure I am going to keep it if I continue to work like this.”