Diop draws on Goodison memories ahead of Everton clash
Issa Diop will draw on the memory of his first Premier League victory when West Ham United take on Everton at London Stadium on Saturday.
The Hammers had lost their opening four matches when they travelled to Goodison Park to take on the previously unbeaten Blues in September, only to upset the form book and leave Liverpool with a 3-1 win to their name.
For Diop, that Sunday afternoon on Merseyside is one he will never forget.
I hope we can finish seventh but for this to happen we need to win a lot of games and be consistent, starting at home on Saturday
“I remember the game, of course, as it was my first win in the Premier League, so facing Everton is a good memory for me,” said the France U21 star. “I have seen a lot of Everton games this season and I know their players. They have got a good team and are fighting with us for seventh place so we need to play well and to win this game.
“I hope we can finish seventh but for this to happen we need to win a lot of games and be consistent, starting at home on Saturday.”
Since that win at Everton, Diop and West Ham have grown into the 2018/19 season, with the centre-back appearing in all but two of 36 matches in all competitions, helping the Hammers to mount a challenge for a top-seven finish.
While the 22-year-old has impressed in his first campaign on this side of the English channel, the former Toulouse captain says there is plenty more to come from him as he continues to adapt to life in the Premier League.
“I feel good. I played a lot of games so I am happy but I think I can play better so I need to improve again,” he said. “The West Ham fans have not seen the best of me yet. I know I can do better so I hope I can do better in the future.
“As a team, I think we can finish seventh. We started the season badly, but we’ve recovered our position and I hope we’re going to finish seventh.
“We score a lot of goals, but we also concede a lot of goals which, as a defender, I am not happy about. I would rather we kept a clean sheet every game!”
This week saw the Premier League mark the 25th anniversary of the anti-discrimination organisation Kick It Out with the launch of a ‘No Room for Racism’ campaign.
In light of the events in Montenegro on Monday, where England’s Raheem Sterling and Danny Rose received racist abuse, Diop backed the fight against such prejudice.
“It’s bad for football and for the world because we are in 2019, so it’s unacceptable,” he confirmed. “Racism has no place in the stadium or outside.”