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2012-11-20T00:34:00 Updated 2015-02-19T01:39:58

The Big Interview - Joey O'Brien

West Ham United right-back Joey O'Brien was wearing the biggest smile of anyone inside the Boleyn Ground after scoring the first Barclays Premier League of his career on Monday evening.

The Republic of Ireland international ghosted into the Stoke City penalty area three minutes after half-time to smash home Gary O'Neil's powerful cross and secure a hard-earned 1-1 draw.

The 26-year-old, whose only previous Hammers goal came in the npower Championship at Watford in August 2011, was naturally happy to talk about his strike, as well as the club's forthcoming trip to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

Joey, you got the goal on Monday that secured a point, so why don't you start off by talking us through it?

JOB: "I picked up the ball and tried to play a one-two with Momo Diame but it did not come back to me, as it went wide to Gaz O'Neil instead. He has a lot of quality on the ball and his delivery is very good so I continued my run and took a chance. He smashed it across goal and I was in the right place at the right time and the ball was just where I wanted it."

It was somewhat of a pile-on celebration after the goal. Does that underline how much that goal meant and how close you are as a team?

JOB: "It was a great bit of banter between the lads and I do not often score goals so it was great because I pretty much celebrated with every single one of them. I score goals like that in training every day (laughs), but really it was very enjoyable because it will probably be another two or three years until it happens again. I think, at the moment, I am averaging one goal a season."

Do you feel that the goal came at the perfect time because the team struggled to gain a foothold in the game in the first half?

JOB: "I think so. They are a very hard team to play against and an even harder team to beat. They have been in the Premier League for a while now and their players are very experienced so it was a difficult game. They got what they wanted in a set-piece goal but I think in the second half we showed just how good we can be."

What did Sam Allardyce say to the team during the break, you really changed the tide of the game after half-time?

JOB: "The manager did not have to say a lot at half-time because we knew we had to improve. We talked and he gave use a fresh game plan that changed how we did a couple of things and we really benefitted from it. The midfield also worked very hard and got around a lot. Momo, Nobby and Mark put them under a lot of pressure, which forced them into making mistakes and limited the time they had on the ball."

Do you feel you did enough in the second half to come away with all three points?

JOB: "Yeah, of course. We played really well in the second half and dominated it in terms of chances, so it is a little disappointing we did not win the game. We were by far the better team and we played some very good football particularly down the left where George (McCartney) had a lot of joy."

Guy Demel has returned to full fitness in recent weeks but you kept your place and scored a goal which must be very pleasing?

JOB: "Yeah I think I have done alright but I do not think it mattered that another player was fit again. It would have been hard to change the team who won 1-0 at Newcastle and I do not think the manager would have wanted to make any changes unless he had too. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to perform and so does the manager. It is essential that we do because, if you do not, somebody will be ready to step in and take your place."

Next up is a trip to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday. Will you go into that game full of confidence after three games unbeaten?

JOB: "We will go there to get at least a point, but we know it is going to be a very tough game because they a top team. We have shown in recent weeks how well we can defend against Manchester City and Newcastle United. Nobody expected those results so we know, if we play well, we can take something from the game."

Providing you keep your place for that game you will come up against Tottenham's speedy left winger Gareth Bale. How much of a test will that be for you?

JOB: "He is a super player but, at the end of the day, he is just a footballer so hopefully I can keep him quiet. He is a millions times better than me so hopefully he does not have a good day, let's leave it at that!"

Looking ahead a little further, you then face Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool. Just how important has this excellent start been for you in the light of that run of fixtures?

JOB: "Of course they are going to be very tough games but what a development from playing in the Championship last year. The main reason we wanted to be promoted last season was so that we could play against the likes of Manchester United, so it is great for the players and for the the football club. I am really looking forward to it and hopefully we can cause a shock or two."

Finally, have your aims as a team changed after what we have already said is a very good start to the season?

JOB: "I do not think so. It is first and foremost all about staying in the league and that is our main aim at the moment. If we reach that target and rack up the points to ensure our safety sooner than originally thought, we can start to look at a top-half finish. Until then it is all about survival."


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