Michail Antonio has hailed the ‘electric’ atmosphere created by the Claret and Blue Army at London Stadium.
Nearly 60,000 West Ham United supporters roared the Irons to a 1-0 Premier League victory over Manchester United on Sunday – a win which took them to the cusp of safety.
The noise levels were deafening throughout and rose to a crescendo first when Saïd Benrahma’s shot squirmed past David de Gea and into the Red Devils’ net, and again when referee Peter Bankes blew his final whistle to confirm three points for David Moyes’ side.
Antonio, who produced a tireless all-action display, was grateful for the energy that emanated from the stands and onto the pitch which helped the Hammers hold off a late Manchester United rally.
“One thing I’ve known since I’ve been here is that once we’ve got the crowd going it’s electric and they will sing from the beginning until the end,” said the No9. “We don’t need to be winning, just as long as we show the fight and the grit and play well, they’re always backing us.”
Antonio was at his best on Sunday, causing untold problems to the Manchester United back four with his relentless movement, willingness to come short and run the channels and in behind, and his trademark physical style that left Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelöf and Luke Shaw knowing they had been in a 90-minute long battle.
The standout moments came in the second half, first when the centre-forward saw his acrobatic finish disallowed for a foul on De Gea, then when he span away from two defenders and was felled by Wan-Bissaka as he ploughed through the centre of the Manchester United defence.
It was prime Antonio, coming into form at just the right time for the Club he has served so well for nearly eight seasons.
“Sunday was a massive game for us,” he confirmed. “We felt like we need three points and we got it and it wasn’t just scrappy, we played some of the best football we have done all season and we did it at the right time because we wanted to get nearer to being safe before we try to win the Europa Conference League.
“We know exactly why we’re in this position and that’s because we weren’t playing as well as we have been over the last couple of seasons. We played well over the last couple of seasons and this one we haven’t played well enough and now, at the back end of the season, we’re starting to perform.
“We always said we weren’t going to get relegated and it wasn’t going to be a thing, but obviously we’ve shown in Europe we can perform and we’ve shown now [in the Premier League] that we can perform and hopefully we’re safe and we can keep going.”