Keeping up with Kouyate

The versatile Hammer talks about Everton, facing Manchester United and Senegal
As West Ham fans have long since realised, Cheikhou Kouyate is one of the best at what he does in the Premier League.
Boundless energy and enthusiasm, both on and off the pitch, the 26-year-old has been outstanding since his arrival in east London.
Having recently been utilised as defensive cover, caught up with the Senegalese international…  
A great victory for the team against Everton last weekend, what was the turning point of the game?
CK: “We tried to start like we had done against Tottenham at home the week before but unfortunately, we conceded an early goal and so we made life difficult for ourselves.
“Unlike in other games when we have conceded, I thought we did well and tried to stay on the front foot. Then they scored their second goal which made the task even harder. The manager was positive and put on two strikers and I think that this was the turning point of the match.”
You are currently covering at centre back due to the several defensive injuries, how do you feel about playing at the back?
CK: “As I have said before, I am a midfielder however; I am prepared to do anything for the benefit of the team. I would even be willing to play in goal if needed. So when the boss asked me to fill in at centre back, I was happy to do so. I played at the back in the Champions League with Anderlecht and so I am comfortable playing in that position.”
A difficult match against Manchester United on Sunday at Old Trafford, do you have any particular memories of playing at the ground or against United?
CK: “We are all aware of the size of their club; they are one of the biggest teams in the country. We know what to expect from a game there, a nice stadium, good playing surface and a great atmosphere.
“I have some great memories of playing for the Senegalese national side during the London Olympics in 2012 at Old Trafford, when we played against Team GB and we held them to a 1-1 draw. I hope that we can go to Sunday’s game and play in the same way, we know that it won’t be easy, but with the team spirit as it is at the moment, we know that we can get something from the game.”
Tell us a bit about the goal you scored against Manchester United at Upton Park last season.
CK: “We had a free kick, Mark Noble and Stewart Downing were standing over the ball and I didn’t know which of them would be taking the free kick. Mark put a great ball into the box and I tried to attack the ball, but I didn’t get to it. Rooney headed the ball away and it fell to me, I juggled the ball once and then twice and then fired towards goal and luckily it went in and I scored one of the best goals of my career.”
You have a busy month with West Ham and then with the Senegalese national side. Qualification is achievable, what can this Senegalese team go on to do?
CK: “All is going well, we are top of the table, but we know there is a long way to go. Things have changed a bit, with a new manager who is trying to take the team to the next level.
“We are determined to qualify and then really progress within the African Cup of Nations in 2017. We face Niger at home and away later this month and we plan to take the game to them at home to try to secure qualification as soon as possible.”