Diop: I’m ready to build on what I’ve learned
Issa Diop enjoyed a debut season to remember with the Hammers, but is not about to rest on his laurels as Manuel Pellegrini’s men build towards the 2019/20 campaign.
Diop, who made the move to east London from Toulouse a year ago, played 38 times in Claret & Blue last season, scoring twice and impressing a whole host of observers.
The modest 22-year-old insists he still has much to learn, and says he has the perfect tutor to learn from in the shape of manager Manuel Pellegrini.
He is also grateful to have experienced defenders like Pablo Zabaleta, Fabian Balbuena and Angelo Ogbonna in the squad – players he will continue to lean on for advice in the year ahead.
We always want to finish at the top so I hope we will make a better season and finish higher than last year
“I just want to play a lot of games and play well,” he said, when asked for his goals for 2019/20. “I learned a lot from the manager last year. He is a very big manager, he has been at very big clubs so he has a lot of experience and it’s easy to learn from him.
“We always want to finish at the top so I hope we will make a better season and finish higher than last year.
“It is very important to have the experienced players in the squad because they know everything about the league, about the football. If sometimes you don’t know something you can ask players like Pablo and he will give advice, so it’s good for us and good for the team.”
Diop was involved as the Hammers won memorable matches against the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal last term, but there was one particular victory he would like to emulate when the new campaign comes around.
He added: “If I had to pick on highlight from my first year, it would be Tottenham away. That was a great game, and for me it was the best because we were the first team to score and to win in their new stadium, against a big rival too.”