Robert Snodgrass feels West Ham need to start believing they are a top-10 team if they are to negotiate a tough run of fixtures.
The Hammers lost their opening Premier League match at home to Newcastle and their next six are against Arsenal, Wolves, Leicester, Tottenham, Manchester City and Liverpool.
Boss David Moyes quickly needs to rediscover the formula which saw West Ham finish last season so well, otherwise they could find themselves adrift by the end of October.
Midfielder Snodgrass said: “The manager has challenged the players because of how well we finished last season, and why not?
“You need to demand high standards of yourself and your team-mates.
“The manager has been here for eight or nine months and he is trying to get his ideas across and getting the lads thinking like a top-half-of-the-table team and we’ve definitely got the ability, but it’s just about the belief.
“It’s about starting the season well. We’ve got some tough games coming up, but the lads finished last season well and got some great results against some great sides, so why not?”
The Hammers earned some respite from their problems on and off the pitch by beating Charlton 3-0 in the Carabao Cup.
Sebastien Haller scored two first-half goals and Felipe Anderson hit a late third to ease them into the third round.
The match saw Snodgrass make his first appearance since lockdown, having been out injured when football returned.
“I’ve got that vast experience and I tried to come back, dust the cobwebs off and put in a good performance, so it was a great result and I felt we could have had six or seven against a good side,” he added.
“I think the lads have got to take confidence from that because it was a good performance and one we needed after the Newcastle result.”
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