LONDON (Reuters) - West Ham defender Alvaro Arbeloa believes his time as a Galactico at Real Madrid will help him cope with the pressure of a Premier League relegation battle.
The 33-year old admits that the stress of chasing trophies with the La Liga giants is different from the challenge he faces in helping to save Slaven Bilic’s side from relegation, but Arbeloa says he’s up for the fight.
“This is a different challenge but I am used to this kind of pressure because when I played for Real Madrid, if we lost one game it was really bad so I know what to expect,” said Arbeloa in an interview.
”Every week and every day at Madrid we were under pressure so I am used to it but this is a different kind of situation.
“We have to train with a high intensity and we have to show our best form.” Arbeloa, who signed for the East London club in the summer on a one-year deal after his second spell with Real Madrid, believes West Ham have the ability to turn the club’s fortunes around.
He said: “When I see my team mates I know that they have quality. ”I think the players are hurting a great deal after what happened on Saturday. We have a great manager and great players.
“We have been hit by a number of injuries, but there is nothing we can do about that. We need to stay together as a team and get more points.”
West Ham travel to Anfield on Sunday with the incentive of knowing three points could be enough to keep manager Bilic in his job.
Liverpool and West Ham conceded nine goals between them last weekend as Jurgen Klopp’s 15-game winning streak came to an end.
Arbeloa, who helped win the 2010 World Cup and two European Championships with Spain (2008 and 2012), is relishing the return to Liverpool seven years after leaving the club and says he has fond memories of his two-year spell on Merseyside.
”I have really good memories [of my time at Liverpool]. For me every game that I played at Anfield was amazing. I had an amazing final season there when we were fighting for the title with Manchester United.
”When I used to play for Liverpool at the Boleyn Ground I could feel from the West Ham fans that they had a great connection with the players.
He added: ”It is important to have that kind of support and they are among the best supporters in England.
“I see similarities with [Liverpool and] West Ham as they both have great anthems when you walk on to the pitch and you can feel something special when you go on to the pitch.”
The two-time UEFA Champions League winner says that West Ham will be spurred on by Bournemouth’s dramatic last-gasp victory last weekend.
“It will not be easy but of course we can get a victory. They lost 4-3 against Bournemouth last weekend so it is possible,” Arbeloa said.
“West Ham won at Anfield last season so there is no reason why we cannot do that again.”
Reporting by Claire Bloomfield, editing by Neil Robinson