Cheikhou Kouyate admitted the joy of scoring his first goal of the season was tainted by the disappointment of defeat by Tottenham Hotspur.
The midfielder’s thumping header had West Ham United dreaming of pulling off a stunning comeback at London Stadium, but Spurs held on to condemn the Hammers to their fourth defeat in six Premier League matches, 3-2.
And Kouyate, who bagged his 14th goal in Claret and Blue from Arthur Masuaku’s left-wing cross to pull his team within a goal in the closing stages, admitted conceding two goals in the space of five first-half minutes had ultimately left the Hammers with too much to do.
“We started the game very well and played very good for 30 minutes but we lost Michail Antonio after that [to injury], then we had five bad minutes and lost two goals in a crucial game,” the No8 told West Ham TV.
“Everyone knows they are a very good team and that you can’t make mistakes against Tottenham, but everyone needs to keep their head up and work hard.
“After the first half, we spoke with the manager and players and said ‘Guys, we need to push because we are 2-0 down and we need to give everything’. We gave everything, but the game was very bad for us so we need to stay focused and work hard.”
We gave everything, but the game was very bad for us so we need to stay focused and work hard
West Ham conceded a third on the hour-mark, but set up a grandstand finish when first Chicharito and then Kouyate planted unstoppable headers past Hugo Lloris, only for a dramatic equaliser to elude them when Andy Carroll’s penalty claims were turned down in added time.
The No8 was pleased to get off the mark for the new season with his first goal since netting a vital winner against Swansea City in March.
The Swans visit London Stadium next weekend and the Senegal midfielder would no doubt like to hit the net again against the Welsh side.
“I spoke with some friends on Saturday and they said ‘You have one or two chances to score in every game, so you need to stay focused and work and take your time’ and I got my first goal,” he said. “Hopefully there will be many more coming in the future.”
“Swansea have a good team, but we need some points because we need to forget the start of this season because it has not been good. Hopefully next week will not be the same.”