West Ham star: I thought it was just a tap-in!
PUBLISHED: 13:50 10 February 2016
West Ham star Michail Antonio plays down the brilliance of his finish against Liverpool on Tuesday night
Goalscorer, flying winger and now right back, there seems no end to the talents of West Ham hero Michail Antonio after he helped the team into the fifth round of the FA Cup on Tuesday night.
The 25-year-old former Nottingham Forest man has been one of the main men in this Hammers team since he battled his way into the starting line-up, but the man with the laugh was certainly matter-of-fact about that goal.
“I don’t remember goals,” he said afterwards with a smile. “Literally it was clipped over by Enner (Valencia) and I have kind of side-volleyed it.
“The boys are going ‘wow, what a goal’ and I just thought it was a tap-in!
“I don’t usually remember goals until I look back over the tape and study my performance.”
That was certainly no tap-in. It showed great technique and his whole performance showed a maturity that was lacking when he first arrived at the club in the summer.
There are less runs into blind alleys and his display at right back after the departure of Joey O’Brien, showed a real maturity.
“It was my first time at right back,” he laughed. “I don’t think it will be a new career for me though.
“It is not really my forte, but I am a person who will play there if the gaffer wants me to. I am a team player, I am not going to be one of those players who says ‘no I am not going to play there’.”
It was just as well, as the West Ham players seemed to be dropping like flies and it is that sort of dedication that helped them to get through.
“They have come out with a couple of first-team regulars and then they have brought on Sturridge and Origi so they were definitely trying to get something out of the game,” added Antonio.
“We have managed to show resilience when they started to get on top of things in extra time and managed to come out with a victory which was great.”
The Hammers are now fighting on two fronts and with James Tomkins already out and Cheikhou Kouyate, Winston Reid and Joey O’Brien joining him on the treatment table, have they got the squad to keep up these standards?
“We definitely have got the squad and we have shown that already this season as we lost six of our strikers along the way,” said Antonio, who now has four goals to his name at West Ham.
“We are starting to lose defenders now, so it is time to show that we have the squad and the players to step up and do a job.
“When Joey came off, I had to fill in at right back, but we still managed to get the victory. We just have to keep pushing on and I think we can do that in league and cup.”
This could be the last cup night at Upton Park, but does Antonio think that they can replicate this intensity at the Olympic Stadium?
He nods. “We don’t believe it will be difficult. It is not the stadium that is doing it, we believe it is the players.”
“We wanted to make this place into a fortress and when we leave and go to the OS we will make that a fortress too.”