Issa Diop hailed a ‘perfect’ night as his first Premier League goal helped West Ham United to overcome a slow start to defeat Fulham 3-1 at London Stadium.
Having seen Ryan Babel sweep the Whites ahead within three minutes, the French defender saw Chicharito bundle in an equaliser before powering the Hammers into the lead with an unstoppable header five minutes before half-time.
West Ham then edged a scrappy second half that featured chances at both ends before Michail Antonio’s late header secured a first win in five Premier League matches for the Irons.
It’s my first Premier League goal and I’m very happy because I scored and we won so it’s perfect
“It was a very tough game,” Diop confirmed. “We started the game badly and were not in the game at the beginning. We needed to concede one goal to wake up and after we played better and the second half also was tough. I don’t know [why we started so badly] but I hope we don’t do the same mistake in the other games.
“It was a tough second half. We repeated the same mistake like we did against [Crystal] Palace as we just dropped back, we didn’t keep the ball and we conceded possession. We need to be careful to keep the ball better.
“We need to show our best because it’s a very difficult league, every team has good players and they can have a lot of chances so we need to be clinical. We need to have the mentality of a big team, always winning and always attacking.”
Diop was was asked about West Ham’s opening two goals, the first of which went in via Chicharito’s right arm, much to the frustration of Fulham’s manager Claudio Ranieri and his players, and the second of which saw him plant Robert Snodgrass’s corner firmly past Sergio Rico.
“[Chicharito’s] was a very good goal, no?” the centre-back observed. “He is a striker, so he needs to be clever sometimes and it was good for us. The goal was very important because we came back to one-one, so we came back into the game and we got better.
“It’s my first Premier League goal and I’m very happy because I scored and we won so it’s perfect. It was a very good corner from Snod, too, so thanks to him.”
Having returned to winning ways, Diop and his teammates will seek to make it back-to-back victories next Wednesday evening, when they travel to the Etihad Stadium to face champions and leaders Manchester City.
The odds on an away win may be long, but the No21 is not about to give up before the game has even kicked-off.
“I hope we can make it two wins in a row,” he said. “It’s a game so we will have chances. We need to be focused and work in the next three days on Manchester City. I’m excited by this challenge, as I am for every game.”