West Ham are finally feeling at home at the London Stadium, according to manager Manuel Pellegrini.
The Hammers entertain Everton on Saturday looking for a fourth consecutive home win for the first time since they moved to the former Olympic Stadium in 2016.
Just 12 months ago pitch invasions and demonstrations, sparked by fans’ anger towards the decision to move the club from from Upton Park, marred a 3-0 defeat by Burnley.
A year on and the atmosphere has improved while there are far fewer empty seats now that Pellegrini has created an entertaining, attacking and winning team – on home soil at least.
“In most of those games we won at home the atmosphere was very good. Fans were enjoying the game, they were all involved, supporting the team,” said the boss.
“They are not thinking or talking or acting like what happened last season. That depends on the performance of the team, that’s why it was so important to win those three games in a row, and now it’s more important to win the fourth game.
“Maybe the fans all realise this team needs a big stadium. The old stadium I know was a beautiful stadium, but it was too small for this team.
“Just 32,000 people is not enough for West Ham – now we have 60,000 people at every game we play. Maybe they understand, and also they are creating the atmosphere that we see in every game.”
Jack Wilshere will be absent again but the injury-jinxed midfielder is due to resume full training next week for the first time since December.
“Next week Jack Wilshere will start working with the squad, and after that we will have six games where we have to decide a lot of things,” Pellegrini added.
Samir Nasri is a doubt with a calf problem while Andy Carroll is still sidelined due to an ankle injury.