Radoslav Kovac has spoken of his delight at scoring his first goal at the Boleyn Ground ahead of the trip to Tottenham Hotspur on Monday.
The experienced midfielder had arguably his best game in a West Ham United shirt in Saturday's 2-0 home defeat of Portsmouth that lifted the club out of the bottom three. He capped off a fine display as the midfield anchor with a terrific late headed goal to make the game safe. It was evident how much it meant to him by the way he ran to the Bobby Moore Stand to celebrate with the fans.
A senior figure in the squad who is approaching his first anniversary in east London since leaving behind the captaincy at Spartak Moscow, Kovac is loving life in London. In much-improved English, he said: "It was amazing to score because it hasn't been an easy time for us," he said. "I am very happy for the team. Now we have won and I think we can keep this habit going.
"It was my first goal here because my only other one was at Everton last season so I was really happy to score in front of them and repay them for all of their support. I hope we can keep it going against Tottenham. I know it means a lot to the fans."
Kovac was singled out as "outstanding" by Gianfranco Zola, with the manager having also claimed he was "incredible" in the 1-1 draw with Chelsea last week as well for his selfless play and tireless running. Scott Parker also reserved special mention for his Czech international team-mate, with Kovac's defensive play allowing the man of the moment the time and freedom to get on the ball and push forward when the time was right.
"We showed last week against Chelsea that we could play very well," Kovac added. "The manager said to us to do the same again, play the same way at the same level and the three points would come in the end. He was right and we are very happy about it."