West Ham youngster making the Grady after bruising Burnley battle
PUBLISHED: 11:30 06 November 2018
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Diangana on penalty: ‘The ref said there was contact, but not enough!’
It was just over the half hour mark when Grady Diangana got the ball on the right hand side of the penalty area.
He stormed into the box, only to be felled unceremoniously by Burnley’s Steven Defour, but inexplicably, referee Roger East waved away the penalty appeals.
“I can still feel my foot throbbing so for me it was definitely a penalty, “ said the 20-year-old winger.
“I spoke to the ref and he said that although there was contact, it was not enough for a penalty.”
Perhaps, like Burnley boss Sean Dyche said in his press conference, he was too honest and should have done a swan-dive to make sure of a spot-kick.
Then, on 67 minutes, Diangana found himself in the middle and scythed down by the brutal James Tarkowski.
This time the ref redeemed himself by playing the advantage and seconds later Felipe Anderson had put the Hammers back in front at 3-2.
“One thing I have been working on is to be more robust. Keep working in every training session and in every game,” he said.
“I am learning every time I play so it was a different experience from the Leicester game to the Tottenham game and then to this game.
“I realise what the opposition want me to do, so I tried to avoid that from that happening.
“I felt that with my back to goal they could just nail me from behind so I tried to open up a bit.”
He certainly took some punishment in this game with Burnley particularly ruthless, but the youngster just got up and went again, putting the visitors under pressure.
“It is so different to the under-23s. Players are much quicker and stronger so you have to be cleverer and the desire to win and get the ball is so much higher,” he admitted.
He does seem to have that desire and has fitted into the team well since Andriy Yarmolenko’s injury.
“It is exciting to play in this team, especially for me as an attacker,” he said. “Playing with the likes of Arnautovic and Anderson and to be a part of it is a good feeling.”
He certainly doesn’t look out of place in the team and he was full of praise for Anderson’s contribution.
“I have started to get a really good understanding with him,” he said. “I have learned his tendencies, what he likes to do. For example when he is out wide and he comes inside, I know he likes to play that ball over the top. I will make the run.
“He is always giving me advice because he is the same type of player as me which is good.”
So what about his own form? What does Diangana think of that?
“I am never satisfied with the way I play,” he admitted. “When I get home I start to think about it more clearly as I am a bit high on adrenalin after a match.
“I think I still need to improve my final third decision making, my final pass, crossing and when to shoot, I feel I need to shoot more.”
That would be an exciting prospect but at the moment, Diangana is looking to help his team to get further up the Premier League table.
“It was very important to beat Burnley, you could see in the way we celebrated each goal and the way we thanked the fans.
“In the next few games, we are looking to pick up as many points as possible against the teams in and around us, it will give us a chance to move up the table.”
He has impressed his boss and it seems there is a lot more to come from the young star.