Simone Zaza is hoping to earn himself a long-term stay at Valencia by producing the kind of performances he admits he failed to do at West Ham.
The 25-year-old Italy forward was presented by Valencia on Monday after cutting short an inauspicious spell with the Hammers to join Los Che on a deal until the end of the season.
Zaza readily admits his stay in England, where he made 11 appearances for West Ham without scoring a single goal after joining on a season-long loan from Juventus last summer, was not a good one but he is determined to show what he can do in Spain.
Asked about his brief Premier League sojourn, Zaza told a press conference with quotes reported by Superdeporte: “It was a very difficult time for me. When I joined from Juventus I was very optimistic, I wanted to experience playing in England because I thought it was the football that I liked and where I could use my qualities.
“Everything started badly from the outset, I think the main blame lies with me because I was not right mentally, I was very negative and in all the things that happened I never saw the positive side.
— Valencia CF (@valenciacf) January 15, 2017
“There was an atmosphere, a culture very different to mine. That was a problem.
“Now I’m here I feel bad not to have shown in England what I’m capable of.”
Zaza is hoping it will be a different story in LaLiga, though.
He has joined Valencia on an initial six-month deal but the well-travelled former Sampdoria and Atalanta striker is already looking beyond that.
“I’m really keen to play here, not only for six months. I think I can do well here. I like the city, the people, everything. My hope is to play here,” he said.
“I would like to score as many goals as possible, but for me the most important thing is starting well, being calm, focused. The key thing is get higher up the table.”
— Valencia CF (@valenciacf) January 16, 2017
Valencia are just one place and four points above the relegation zone in LaLiga but earned themselves some breathing space with a 2-1 victory over Espanyol at the weekend.
That was Valencia’s first win since Voro replaced Cesare Prandelli as head coach just before the new year – a managerial change that Zaza feared would end Los Che’s interest in him.
He said: “I knew that Prandelli wanted me, when the coach went for a moment I thought that probably Valencia didn’t want me, but the following day or the same night Valencia called me saying they wanted me.
“The negotiations haven’t gone very quickly but finally I’m here and I’m very happy.
“The club aren’t going through a good moment but I was keen to come here and play in Valencia.”