Simone Zaza discussed adapting to his new life at Valencia, wants to “forget about West Ham as quickly as possible” and admits he can be too gladiatorial.
The former Sassuolo and Juventus striker struggled during his loan spell in the Premier League, but has rediscovered his form already in La Liga.
“Valencia? I think I'm at a big club. When I came here, we weren’t in a good situation,” Zaza told Marca.
“It was complicated, but for me it was all new and, little by little, we’re doing things well and winning games.
“We’re moving up the table. I’m happy for myself, my teammates and the fans. The fans are very demanding, but this is Valencia, it’s a great club and the fans are used to winning here. I’ve been happy at Valencia until now and I hope to continue like this.”
West Ham had an option to buy Zaza, but preferred to drop him rather than risk reaching the threshold of appearances to make it an obligation.
“The truth is that it is what it is. At West Ham I didn’t score and didn’t play much. I think I played less than seven or eight matches.
“I was in a difficult situation that I didn’t like and I want to forget about it as quickly as possible. At Valencia I feel fantastic. Goals for a striker is the most important thing, but for me the key is to be physically fit.
“If I’m well mentally and physically, I know I’ll do well. Two goals in less than a week feels like a complete release, but I’m not happy like this. I want to do much more.
“My ‘gladiator’ style of play? A lot of the time it’s dangerous for the cards I may pick up, I know, but I‘ve always played like this.
“Now I do even more because I went a long time without playing and enjoying myself. In England I didn’t feel good, both physically and mentally, but now I’m back.
“The other day against Leganes, we won but I didn’t score. Until the last 10 minutes, I enjoyed dying for each ball, running, pressing. I feel alive and strong.
“I know that by doing so, I’ll help the team, and I’m sure that if my teammates see me press the whole pitch, they’ll follow suit.
“In England it’s all more physical, in Italy it’s more tactical but here in Spain you play with the ball more. There are times when it can be boring, but here it’s very difficult to win the ball back from the other team.
“Almost all the teams in La Liga can play you head on, something that doesn’t happen in Italy, like we did against Real Madrid.
“What I’m struggling most with? The only thing is my tendency to foul, the referees punish you more here, but little by little I’ll adapt.”