Antonio – I should have got a hat-trick!

Now that he has opened his West Ham United account, man of the moment and Man of the Match Michail Antonio plans to kick on in claret and blue. 

His second-half leveller in Monday's 2-1 Barclays Premier League success over Southampton may neither have been the prettiest, nor even intentional, but was absolutely crucial all the same. 

After storming into the box, the 25-year-old fell to earth and was then merely a spectator as Victor Wanyama thumped the ball in his direction. Happily, it thudded off the then floored Antonio and arced over Saints ‘keeper Maarten Stekelenburg. 

“It was unbelievable,” he told West Ham TV. “I didn't really know anything about it, so I was trying to celebrate but I was still a bit dazed from when it hit me! 

“I thought it was a great performance, after going behind against a good team, who beat Arsenal 4-0 at the weekend, we showed that we can dig in and managed to get the goals.”  

Antonio hailed the Hammers’ change of tack at the interval, with the introductions of Andy Carroll and Manuel Lanzini paying dividends.  

When it comes to scoring goals, the former Nottingham Forest man can be as greedy as he likes and the No30 was quick to point out that he could easily have gone home with the match ball for company!  

He continued: “We've come out [in the second half], we've changed formation, put AC [Andy Carroll] up top, so that we can win more headers and pick up more second balls. 

“We've shown our drive and I should have got a hat-trick, really. It was a good three days of football. We managed to get four points out of the two games. Three points at home, one away, good results!” 

As for the winner, Antonio admits he should have tucked it away without Carroll’s intervention, having crashed a header against the underside of the bar. But just his being in the right place at the right time is encouraging and reason enough to think that more chances and more goals are on their way.     

“I should have finished it first time,” he added. “AC was sharp, on his toes and managed to put a good header into the far corner. We've got to push on now and Liverpool at home on Saturday. 

“I've always said I will try to get into the box, I always try to get goals and now that I've managed to get one, hopefully I can keep going. 

“I feel over the last four games I've been growing in confidence, I feel that I've been getting better and hopefully the fans see it.” 

Victory on Monday, the Hammers’ first since back in October, was the perfect end to 2015 and, says Antonio, casts a very different light on the recent spate of stalemates. 

“We're now unbeaten in six, it's turned from a negative, where we kept drawing and drawing, to now being unbeaten in six. How long can we stay unbeaten? 

“All you can do is concentrate on the next game, make sure we keep getting three points, make sure we keep getting points on the board and we'll keep moving forward.”