Spot-on Antonio happy to hit personal target as Hammers pick up point to secure place
PUBLISHED: 17:00 23 July 2020
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Michail Antonio maintained his excellent form in front of goal to score from the penalty spot as West Ham earned a 1-1 draw at Manchester United in midweek.
Antonio was coolness personified as he took just two steps to beat David De Gea from 12 yards, after Paul Pogba had handled a fierce drive from Declan Rice.
And as well as earning the Hammers the point that ensured their Premier League safety once and for all, it also allowed Antonio to hit double figures for the delayed 2019-20 campaign.
Eight of his 10 goals have come in six games since the season restarted on June 17 and Antonio said: “Me and ‘Nobes’ talked and he asked me what my target was for the season. I said it’s 10 goals and it’s been my target for the last five years I’ve been here.
“I’ve never been able to reach it – I’d got to nine a couple of times – so he said if we get a penalty in the next two games he’d give it to me, because I’d scored so many important goals for us this month and he believed I’d score.
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“I honestly didn’t think we’d get a penalty and when we got it, I didn’t think he’d still give it to me! But as soon as they made the decision on VAR he said ‘are you ready?’ and I said ‘yes I am’.
“I knew where I was going to put it. Because he spoke to me in the week I had a couple of practice penalties, so because I knew where I was going to put it I was confident and just slotted it home.
“‘Nobes’ will be back on them from Sunday, this was literally so I could hit my target of 10 goals for the season and hopefully I can score another in open play!”
United’s teenage starlet Mason Greenwood cancelled out Antonio’s first-half injury-time opener after the restart, but West Ham held on for a share of the spoils to make it 11 points from 18.
Antonio added: “The performance we put in was amazing. We’ve shown we can go out and play against the big boys – create opportunities, defend well and it shows the steps we’ve taken since the restart.
“In the first half they came out raring to go, they were sharp and kept moving us, but we stayed compact and they couldn’t get through us.
“Then in the second half we played even better. We got on the ball, created more and felt comfortable on the ball, playing one, two touch football and we kept them out. It’s a massive point away at Old Trafford.”
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