Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez says he is nearly back to his best after being sidelined for over a month due to a virus that left him so sick he had trouble sleeping.
The Mexico international managed one goal in five games in all competition for West Ham to begin the year.
However, after playing 15 minutes off the bench against Wolverhampton on September 1, Chicharito would miss the next six weeks due to illness.
The striker did not return until the October 20 match against Tottenham, but now has been handed starts in West Ham’s last two games – the Hammers' 1-1 draw with Leicester City in the league and their 3-1 loss to Spurs in the Carabao Cup.
And Chicharito thinks game time is the only way he’ll be able to recapture his best form, though he does think he’s on the road back to full fitness.
“I’m close to getting back [to my best],” Chicharito told West Ham’s official website. “I’ve played two games and the only way to get back to your best fitness, and back in your rhythm, is just playing.
“Thankfully I played 60 minutes in the last two games, so hopefully I can keep adding minutes to that from the start and keep getting better.”
The forward admits the situation was difficult given how early it was in the campaign and how serious his illness was, as he was confined to his apartment with even sleep being difficult.
“It has been frustrating because when I got back for pre-season I tried to get as fit as possible but then I had the virus thing, which kept me off the pitch and away from my teammates for five weeks.
“That was very difficult because I had a starting point, then I stopped and had to start again. For two weeks I had to stop completely because I had to wait to get better. I could not go out from my apartment and I wasn’t sleeping well. I stopped completely, so it was more difficult when I came back.”
West Ham have been a streaky side this season, with a four-match losing run to start the league followed by a three match unbeaten streak and now another three-match winless run.
The Hammers are 13th in the table, but five points behind 12th and just three above the relegation zone.
With their situation precarious, Chicharito conceded reassuring the fans with words aren’t enough at this point – the club needs wins, starting with a key clash against Burnley this weekend.
“We have so much to improve and so much to give,” Chicharito said. “We are in the position the table we are, and we need to keep working. There are no words to make people feel better other than results, so we have another game on Saturday and another opportunity.
“It will be a decisive game in this moment, because both teams want the three points. We need that, and it will be a good game, a good fight and hopefully here in our home we can get the win."