When Marko Arnautovic scored West Ham United’s Premier League match-winner against Chelsea at London Stadium, his first reaction was to head for the East Stand Lower to celebrate with the Claret and Blue Army.
The Austrian celebrated his first goal for the Club on Saturday by racing to the touchline, hurdling the advertising hoarding and burying himself in a mass of happy Hammers.
It was a gesture not just of joy, but of thanks to the supporters who have stuck by the team through a difficult start to the season and were rewarded with a valuable victory over their London rivals on Saturday.
It felt great for our fans because they deserve it and for us, as a team, it’s amazing to get a win
“I can do everything better, but I’m improving now and I’m enjoying playing football,” said the No7, who steered the ball past Thibaut Courtois at the end of a superb move involving Pablo Zabaleta, Michail Antonio and Manuel Lanzini. “I’m feeling fit and I trained hard and try to get the best out of myself and then, when I take that into the game and it works out, I feel good.
“It felt great for our fans because they deserve it and for us, as a team, it’s amazing to get a win. For myself, I scored and we beat them, so it’s an amazing feeling that I cannot describe. I don’t want this to be my last goal. I want it to be the first one of many.
“I just wanted to celebrate with them and I want to give back to them because, when the fans get behind us and cheer us for 90 minutes, they are unbeatable, I think. Nobody can beat them. When they are behind us and we are on the front foot, nobody can beat us as well.
“We’re going to enjoy this today, but when we wake up we’re going to concentrate on Arsenal, because we have three important games this week, not just one.”
Arnautovic and his teammates matched Premier League champions Chelsea stride for stride on Saturday, with the Austrian himself covering nearly 9km in just 69 minutes on the pitch.
The 29-year-old said the Hammers’ improving physical output statistics were down to the intense work the players were putting in under new manager David Moyes and his staff.
The squad will rest and recover on Sunday before returning to the training pitch on Monday morning ahead of the midweek visit of Arsenal.
“Every day, we need to work hard under this coach and there are no excuses. Everybody needs to do his main job and do two or three more jobs on the pitch. We are working hard as a team and I think you could see this in the game and if we continue to do that, we will be hard to beat.
“We need to keep up the level. Now is a busy month and we’re going to have a game every three days so it’s going to be hard, so we need to recover well and go again on Wednesday.
“I’m really tired, I’m going to go to sleep tonight and then tomorrow I’m going to work hard to make sure I’m ready for Wednesday!”