Antonio: I won't forget my celebration if I score against Brighton!
Michail Antonio was so overcome with the emotion of scoring his first West Ham United goal of the season that he forgot his pre-planned celebration.
The winger netted for the first time since March and just the second time this year in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Burnley, latching onto Joe Hart’s long clearance before poking the ball past goalkeeper Nick Pope and slamming it into the unguarded net.
While previous goals have been followed by elaborate dance moves, including the Homer Simpson, the Carlton Banks and the Worm, Antonio admitted his mind went blank and he went freestyle at Turf Moor.
“It was my first of the season and it’s always good to get off the mark and hopefully I can go on a little run now,” the No30 began. “Sometimes you have too much time to think about something and I was thinking to myself ‘If you miss here, it will be really embarrassing’, but I managed to put it into the back of the net, so now I’ll move onto the next game!
“I had something planned for my celebration but the way that it happened and with everything that had gone on, it was just too much emotion for me to even think about doing my celebration, so I just threw a little bit of everything in! I thought it still looked all right, to be honest!
“Now, I’m still thinking about what I would do if I score on Friday [against Brighton & Hove Albion at London Stadium] and hopefully I’ll score and the celebration will look just right.”
Reflecting on Saturday’s game, which saw the Hammers lose Andy Carroll to a first half red card and the lead to Chris Wood’s late equaliser, Antonio felt his teammates had both given their all and produced some of their best football of the season.
Despite being reduced to ten men, West Ham created a succession of chances, showcasing their ability to open up defences in a variety of ways, with long balls, intricate one-touch moves, individual flair and strength all giving the Burnley back four trouble.
With the likes of Chicharito, Diafra Sakho, Marko Arnautovic, Manuel Lanzini, Andre Ayew, Pedro Obiang and Cheikhou Kouyate all fit and firing, and Carroll due back after a one-game ban, Antonio is excited by the Hammers’ attacking options.
I’m still thinking about what I would do if I score on Friday and hopefully I’ll score and the celebration will look just right
“It was a great performance. Twenty-seven minutes in we lost a player at a place where they are very good at home and pick up the majority of their points, so to play for 60 minutes with ten men and even get opportunities shows the ability that we have.
“If we show the character and performance we showed in that game in games to come, we will be winning games. It showed the different parts of the game that we can play – the hard work, the nice football and the flair play – so hopefully we can take all of them into the next game.
“With the players that we have here, we are definitely going to be able to cut teams open and people are definitely going to be scared of us going in behind, so we can get the ball down and cut them open.”