Alphonse Areola celebrates at full-time at Everton

Areola: It was special to hear the fans sing my name

Alphonse Areola said it was a special feeling to hear the West Ham United fans sing his name throughout Saturday’s thrilling 3-1 victory at Everton, having contributed an incredible goalkeeping performance to help earn three vital points.

The Hammers made it back-to-back wins in the Premier League thanks to late goals from Tomáš Souček and Edson Álvarez at Goodison Park, after skipper Kurt Zouma had cancelled out Beto’s opener towards the start of a frantic second half.

But France international Areola was arguably the standout star for the visitors, contributing a string of stunning saves that included his intervention to get down and keep out a Beto penalty kick on the stroke of half-time.

“It was brilliant,” said the 31-year-old, when asked about the fans’ adulation. “The most important thing for me is the win for the team, but it is really nice.

I’ve been training all my life to get myself to this level, and I just want to keep going and improving
Alphonse Areola

“Of course I’m happy to do my bit and help the team out. That’s my job and why I’m here, and when you match good performances with good results you just have to enjoy it.

“I’ve been training all my life to get myself to this level, and I just want to keep going and improving. I want to maintain my mindset and keep my body prepared for every game, and that’s what I’ll keep doing every day in training.”

Areola revealed that a pre-game chat with goalkeeper coach Xavi Valero helped him make his mind up about which way to dive for Beto’s spot-kick, with the latter a somewhat surprise inclusion in the Everton XI.

And having left his 18-yard box to get stuck into the wild celebrations when Álvarez struck West Ham’s third deep into five minutes of added time, he is confident the team can build on such winning momentum in the upcoming busy period at home and abroad.

Alphonse Areola saves Beto's penalty

He added: “After the penalty, I pointed to the bench because I’d spoken to Xavi about penalties. We were expecting [Dominic] Calvert-Lewin to play, but Xavi came to me and then I took my decision.

“The goals just released all the pressure at the end of the game - it was amazing. Tomáš’ strike was amazing, and so was Edi’s right at the end, and at 3-1 I thought I had to go and enjoy the moment with the guys!

“It’s great to be where we are now, after a tricky few weeks. Now, we’ve got to be ready to go again because we’ve got a tough game against Freiburg on Thursday in the Europa League.

“These are the competitions we want to play in, and we’ll keep pushing in all our games to make sure we can keep doing that.”