Manuel Pellegrini has admitted that Marko Arnautovic makes a huge difference to West Ham following his brace against Southampton.
Arnautovic scored his first goals since January as West Ham swept aside the Saints 3-0 at the London Stadium.
The Austrian, whose form had deserted him since a lucrative move to China failed to materialise during the transfer window, found the net twice to sink the Saints.
Ryan Fredericks hit the third as West Ham secured their biggest home win of the season in their final outing at the London Stadium.
“With this team, with Marko, a complete season that is quiet, calm and just playing football I think it is a player who makes a difference,” Pellegrini told reporters after the 3-0 win.
“Last season, for different reasons, he started bad but after that he demonstrated what he can do.
“This season, exactly the same, when he was mentally involved he played the same and made the difference and I hope that next season, he will be involved in doing a complete season.
“I am sure this season for him will have been a good lesson, he learned some things and I am absolutely convinced next season we will see a great Marko.”