West Ham United defender Pablo Zabaleta believes injuries to the likes of Marko Arnautovic, Pedro Obiang, James Collins and Edimilson Fernandes have been costly.

The return of Manuel Lanzini after one month has provided the club with a boost and Zabaleta was quick to acknowledge the improvement.

Zabaleta told the Daily Star: “I think what we are missing at some points in the game is that creativity that you need to create chances, to keep the ball.

“Sometimes we play so quickly that we gave the ball away so this is something we need to improve.

“We’ve been missing Manu so far this season and he’s probably the only player we have to create (chances), and at least to keep the ball a little bit more.

“(He is) a player to play in the hole, between the lines, and that was a big difference when Manu came on.”

He was referring to Lanzini’s role in the build-up to Diafra Sakho’s late winner for West Ham against Swansea on Saturday.

“We lost Marko (on Friday) with a high fever, he was sick and ill, (Pedro) Obiang out too. It seems like every time we have a problem with some players we cannot keep everyone fit for a long period, everyone being consistent.

“That is probably the only problem I can see at this moment.”

West Ham return to action after the international break with an away game against Burnley.

The Hammers are in 15th place in the Premier League table having endured a difficult start to the campaign.

Zabaleta is confident that the club’s fortunes will improve as their injury list dwindles.

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