West Ham's Fonte: "I would die on the pitch for West Ham if I have to"
PUBLISHED: 08:27 18 April 2017 | UPDATED: 08:27 18 April 2017
Hammers defender is still settling in at new club
However experienced you are and however long you have been playing in the Premier League, when you change clubs it is always going to take time to settle in.
That has proved to be the case for Jose Fonte since joining from Southampton in January.
Despite chalking up close to 300 games for the Saints, the 33-year-old has had problems in the West Ham defence since that £8million move.
But he may be finally showing what he can do. He may some telling blocks on Saturday at Sunderland, especially in the second half and he feels that things are beginning to come right.
“I think I had a good second half,” he said after Saturday’s 2-2 draw with bottom club Sunderland. “I had a few good challenges, but I am still getting to know the people here and my team-mates, so I can get better.”
In Fonte’s 11 appearances so fat in claret and blue, he has kept just one clean sheet in the narrow 1-0 win over Swansea City, but he feels that he is improving.
“I trust the process, I trust the work that I do during the week and when you work hard in training things will start to come good.”
Fonte missed out on playing in the League Cup Final for the Saints to come to the London Stadium and he has no regrets.
“I am focused on West Ham not Southampton,” insisted the Portugal international. “I will die on the pitch if I have to because the fans deserve it and I want to prove that I am worth it.”
Despite his improved display, Fonte could not prevent Sunderland grabbing a draw on Saturday, but he was looking to the positives.
“Of course, we are not happy with either goal, but listen Sunderland kept fighting,” insisted Fonte. We had opportunities in the first half to kill the game, but credit to them they did not give up, they kept trying and this is the Premier League.
“We are not happy with the result, but we have to take the positives. We got a point and the other teams around us lost,” he said.
“You can’t be too down. This is the Premier League and every game is tough. Even Sunderland have good players up front and one the best strikers in England in Jermain Defoe.”
So does Fonte think that the team can haul themselves into the top 10 before the end of the campaign?
“It is obviously one of the targets we have,” he said. “We can’t look down, we have to look up and be ambitious and strong and fight for what is best for the club and fight for the fans.
“We are going to focus on the next game, if we win we will be in a good position.”
That next game is likely to be another big test for Fonte and his fellow defenders. Not Defoe this time, but Romelu Lukaku who has scored 25 goals this season for the Toffees as well as scoring in his last nine games against the Hammers.
“It will be a very, very good game, an interesting game,” said Fonte. “They are a good team Everton and we will look forward to it.”
We will see.