Michail Antonio: We’re working to become the finished article

Michail Antonio

West Ham United forward Michail Antonio was full of praise for his teammates after the Irons put in the perfect away performance to beat Leicester City 3-0.

Defensively rigid and well organised, West Ham restricted Leicester – previously unbeaten in the Premier League this season – to just four shots throughout the 90 minutes, with none of them troubling goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski.

When West Ham did have the ball, they counterattacked with menace and purpose, with three clinical finishes – the first from the head of Antonio, who led the line with aplomb – indicative of a superb performance at the King Power Stadium.

After some encouraging performances in recent weeks, Antonio attributed the display to the Irons’ excellent implementation of manager David Moyes’ and his backroom staff’s tactics.

“Basically it’s just the tactics that we’ve had,” the No30 said. “We’ve come out and in the last few games we’ve played well, even in the games that we’ve lost. 

“We [initially] had great opportunities and some decisions didn’t go our way, but now things are going our way and we’re playing well.

“You could see that we’re working on playing with the ball more, on our shape, working out from our shape with great counter-attacks, and you see that we’re becoming the finished article. 

“People were saying the last two games would have been tricky, but we’ve won the last game 4-0 and this one 3-0. All we need to do is concentrate on ourselves, make sure we keep a good shape, and make sure we keep scoring goals.

“All we need to do now is go out and keep winning games. We’ve got a nice little [international] break now, and hopefully we can keep the performances going after our break ends.”

Michail Antonio heads West Ham United in front against Leicester City

Having landed on his feet in the lone striker role following the Premier League restart last season, Antonio has now scored ten goals in his last eleven Premier League games.

In opening the scoring at the King Power Stadium after 14 minutes, the No30 became the first West Ham United player to score in five consecutive top-flight away games since Mike Small in 1991.

His goal came as a result of some quick-thinking early on, using a seemingly non-threatening free-kick to spread the play before following the ball into the box and planting a header inside the far post.

“I saw that Aaron Cresswell was free and gave him the ball,” he explained.

“Then, obviously as a striker I’m going to get in the box, and I went to the far stick. Cress put an unbelievable ball in, and I managed to finish it off.”

The trip to Leicester City was the fourth game in a row in which assistant manager Alan Irvine stood on the touchline, with manager David Moyes continuing to coordinate proceedings from self-isolation.

In a message to West Ham supporters on the Club website, Moyes confirmed that he is feeling generally fine but is “taking it day by day and following the advice of the medical experts, with the health and safety of everyone without doubt the most important thing of all.”

Antonio, therefore, praised the manager and his staff for masterminding such a performance – and he intends to carry them on.

He explained: “I think he [David Moyes] speaks to Alan on the phone. We don’t know what he says, but all we know is we’ve gone out there, given a good performance, and we’ll make sure we carry it on.

“I thought we did him [Moyes] proud against Arsenal. I think if a couple of decisions had gone our way, we might have won the game, and even against Newcastle if a couple of decisions had gone our way we might have won that game too. 

“I’d say we’ve started the season well - let’s carry it on.”

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