Saïd Benrahma cannot wait to play in front of a capacity London Stadium crowd for the first time after helping West Ham United make a winning start to the 2021/22 Premier League season.
The Algeria international was involved in all four of his team’s goals in Sunday’s 4-2 come-from-behind victory at Newcastle United, scoring the second and assisting the fourth for Michail Antonio.
Benrahma’s goal, his second for the Club, was just the second header he has scored among his 51 career goals, and his first since netting for French club Nice in April 2015, and he celebrated in style, sliding on his knees and tapping the West Ham crest on his shirt before pointing to the 3,000-strong Claret and Blue Army high up in the Leazes Stand.
Speaking to West Ham TV at the end of a memorable afternoon at St James’ Park, the No22 was delighted to have played such a central role in such an important victory, and is looking forward to playing in front of a capacity London Stadium crowd for the first time when Leicester City visit next Monday evening…
Saïd, what a fantastic way to start the season?
“We started the game badly and they started the match well. So taking back control of the match and coming back to win away from home was amazing so I’m very happy. We showed a lot of character despite being behind, we were able to get back into the game and didn’t give up. We put in the effort and it worked out.”
We showed real character to come from behind twice to win the game?
“The first half was difficult, but we were able to stay in the game. At half-time we went in, the coach spoke to us and motivated us. We came back on the pitch with a determination to do something, because there was a chance we could get something out of it. So we pushed and we pushed and it paid off.”
Your goal, our second equaliser, was so important, and it came from an unlikely source – your head!
“It was my second goal with my head. I don’t score very often with my head. I’m just very, very happy.”
The combination play between you, Pablo Fornals, Jarrod Bowen and Michail Antonio was so exciting to watch and it must be exciting to play alongside them?
“Now we’re starting to understand each other well. So it’s working well and I hope it continues like this because they’re great players and we work well together, we defend and attack together. It’s so good to be rewarded for our effort!”
To win away at Newcastle United on the opening day of the season in front of 50,000 supporters was some achievement?
“I think it was a huge match. I think that it was a complicated match away from home. We came all the way here and won, so it was a really great match.”
And your goal and our victory came in the same week you celebrated turning 26!
“It was my birthday five days ago. This was a great birthday present for me actually!”
How did you enjoy your first Premier League match in front of a capacity crowd?
“It’s amazing that the fans were there, I waited a long time for that and it was fantastic, it’s a nice stadium. The crowd was there and they were unreal. Honestly, I was really impressed. I’m so happy that the supporters could come, I’ve been waiting for that and it was great. When the fans are there it’s different, it pushes you on. Your adrenaline is boosted when the fans are there. It’s just amazing.”
And now we are preparing to welcome Leicester City and 60,000 supporters to London Stadium on Monday evening…
“I’m impatiently waiting for that, playing at home. It was still cool today despite being away from home. We could hear their voices. So I’m waiting impatiently for the next match.”
Finally, how important was it for our confidence to get off to a winning start after how well we did last season?
“It was important, we wanted to do well. Personally, I wanted to start the season well. I think that we all got off to a good start and I hope it can continue!”