Pablo Fornals: We must fight for our Premier League dream
West Ham United midfielder Pablo Fornals admits that there is only thing on his and his team-mates' mind at this moment in time: securing Premier League safety.
The Spanish playmaker showed some neat touches in Tuesday evening’s late defeat at Tottenham Hotspur, but was unfortunate to miscue in front of goal when Jarrod Bowen fizzed the ball across the area early in the second half.
At that point, the game was 0-0, with the Hammers having struggled to convert some well-worked chances despite a much-improved display after losing to Wolverhampton Wanderers the previous weekend.
We need to show our fans that we want to be in the Premier League another year, fighting with the best teams in the world
The failure to translate this improvement into a different outcome, however – Tottenham went on to win 2-0 – left Fornals and his team-mates feeling rueful for wasted opportunities on the night.
But, speaking after the game, Fornals resolved to channel that frustration into fight, adamant that the squad possesses the quality to secure their Premier League status this season.
“We are a big squad with very good players, but we need to show our fans that we want to be in the Premier League another year, fighting with the best teams in the world,” Fornals told West Ham TV.
“It’s difficult because our start [after the season suspension] put us against three teams in the top six, but that doesn’t matter. We are West Ham, and we need to win.
“My teammates and I want to be in the Premier League again. It’s a dream for me to play for West Ham and in the Premier League, and I want this dream to continue.”
Despite West Ham creating some clear opportunities, Tuesday night’s game would eventually turn on an unfortunate incident midway through the second period.
As Giovani Lo Celso’s corner swung into the area, Spurs defender Davison Sanchez appeared to flick the ball on with his hand, the ricochet causing it to deflect in off Irons midfielder Tomas Soucek.
While the event was reviewed by Video Assistant Referee (VAR), it was not ruled out on this occasion, leaving West Ham's players unhappy with the controversial decision.
The advantage gave Tottenham additional space as the Irons pressed forward for an equaliser late on, Harry Kane taking full advantage to wrap up the game in the dying minutes.
A frustrating set of circumstances – but Fornals recognises that, at this stage of the season, it is only Premier League points that matter.
“I don’t know why VAR didn’t say it was handball because it is,” Fornals noted, “but before their goal, we were playing well. We had many chances.
“I had one pretty clear one, and I think it was the difference between getting a point or even three points. It ended as another loss and we continue this disappointing moment for us.
“I think there was improvement in the team. People could see how we started the game better than the other day [against Wolves], with chances trying to score, playing better.
“It was another game we could have got one point, like the other day, but whether it’s because of our chances or our mistakes or VAR, it doesn’t matter. It’s the same scoreline as the other day, zero points for us - and we know we need to start to get points.”