Van der Vaart wants happy Hamburg

  • Last Updated: September 17 2012, 14:02 BST

Rafael van der Vaart has called on his Hamburg team-mates to lighten up a little if they are to lift themselves off the foot of the Bundesliga.

Rafael van der Vaart: Wants hard work

The Dutchman made his debut in Sunday's 3-2 defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt - their third straight loss this season - and after playing his first 90 minutes with the Bundesliga strugglers, he was able to put his finger on why they are where they are in the league.

"When you start a game like we did, then you can never win," he said.

"We were far too fearful to begin with. Complaining about it now gets us nowhere, we have got to work hard and intensively on ourselves."

Nevertheless, van der Vaart did see signs of improvements in the second half, during which Hamburg held their own with only 10 men and came close to getting an equaliser.

"We fought our way back and that is positive," added the former Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder. "We have just got to put the big chances we created away."

Goalkeeper Rene Adler was also encouraged by Hamburg's performance after Petr Jiracek's red card, saying: "We were the better team in the second half and that is something we can build upon.

"We are denying ourselves victories by not taking our chances," he added on his club's website.