Michail Antonio: I was confident I would score
Michail Antonio was doubly delighted at Manchester United on Wednesday night - both on a team and personal level.
The point garnered from West Ham United's 1-1 draw at Old Trafford made their place in the Premier League for 2020/21 mathematically certain, while Antonio's first half penalty conversion allowed him to hit his goals target for the season.
The spot kick gave Antonio his tenth goal of the campaign and continued his rich vein of form - the No30 now has eight strikes to his name since the campaign resumed a month ago.
It all added up to a successful evening in the North West, even though Mason Greenwood chiselled out a second half leveller, and the Hammers were satisfied with another strong performance.
"The performance we put in was amazing," Antonio ssaid. "We’ve shown that we can go out and play against the big boys - create opportunities, defend well and it shows the steps we’ve taken since the restart.
"In the first half they came our raring to go, they were sharp and kept moving us. But we stayed compact and they couldn’t get through to us.
"Then in the second half we played even better. We got on the ball, we created more and we felt comfortable on the ball, playing one, two touch football and we kept them out.
"Obviously it’s a massive point away at Old Trafford."
Antonio revealed the helping hand regular penalty taker Noble gave him to help him hit his target, and that he was always confident he would deliver from 12 yards.
He said: "Me and Nobes talked and he asked me what my target was for the season. I said it’s ten goals and it’s been my target for the last five years I’ve been here.
"I’ve never been able to reach it - I’d got to nine a couple of times but not ten - so he said if we get a penalty in the next two games he’d give it to me because I’d scored so many important goals for us this month and he believed I would score.
"I honestly didn’t think we’d get a penalty, and when we got it, I didn’t think he’d still give it to me! But as soon as they made the decision on VAR he said: ‘Are you ready?’ And I said; ‘Yes I am.’
"I knew where I was going to put it. Because he spoke to me in the week I had a couple of practice penalties, so because I knew where I was going to put it I was confident, and just slotted it home.
"Nobes will be back on them from Sunday, this was literally so I could hit my target of ten goals for the season and hopefully I can score another in open play!"
I knew where I was going to put it. I had a couple of practice penalties, so because I knew where I was going to put it I was confident
The Hammers have now taken eleven points from their last six games, a run of form which means they can head into Sunday's final game clear of any relegation worries.
More than that, Antonio is determined to ensure his team take that winning feeling into next season and hit the ground running.
"We want to finish the season on a high so when we come back for next season we can still be on that high and have the confidence from this season," he added.
"The break won’t be long, so we can take the confidence from these performances into next season."