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U.S.'s Wood optimistic after 'most difficult year'

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U.S. striker Wood tells Hamburg he wants move

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ESPN FC  By ESPN

U.S.'s Bobby Wood 'alone can't rescue Hamburg attack' - coach Markus Gisdol

Hamburg coach Markus Gisdol says his whole team is to blame for recent goal-scoring issues, backing the work of U.S. striker Bobby Wood amid the Bundesliga club's relegation battle.

Wood, 24, has scored five league goals this season to go with four more in the DFB Pokal, but he has battled with injuries recently and has not found the net since March 12 despite starting seven games.

With two games to go, Hamburg are in the relegation playoff spot on goal difference and after failing to score in two straight matches have only 30 goals all season, better only than bottom-side Darmstadt.

But Gisdol did not blame Wood's goal drought for the team's struggles, while also praising the Hawaii native's work rate.

"Bobby Wood is a player who exploded performance-wise this term," Gisdol said, "but who also played second division last term and who now's rated like an absolute top player who has already shown his best performances at a top level.

"Bobby is a young lad, with a clear mind, who currently just can't constantly perform. He's fighting every single week and plays with painkillers.

"I can't really criticise a player who is fighting like this, also because I know what an important role he plays for us. He throws himself into the fight, he has worked for the team and he will be there again when it matters.

"He alone can't rescue Hamburg's attack, that's a team job."

Hamburg have opened talks with Wood over a new contract despite reports linking him to Borussia Dortmund and Premier League clubs Leicester and West Ham.

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