Darren Randolph: I'll always take a win and clean sheet
Darren Randolph's first Premier League appearance of the season may have been an unexpected one, but the end result was one he will always take.
Randolph was called into the starting line-up at Everton just minutes before kick-off after Łukasz Fabiański suffered an injury in the warm-up, but there were no signs of ring-rust in his display.
David Moyes' men ensured 2021 would get off to the perfect start as Tomáš Souček's late strike settled a tight game in their favour and meant Randolph's clean sheet resulted in all three points - the kind of outcome that a goalkeeper relishes.
"We knew it was going to be tough against a strong, well-skilled and well-organised Everton team, but we've come here, got the three points and it's a great start to the New Year," the No35 explained.
"I found out I was playing during the warm-up, so I was just doing the usual routine and had to follow on from whatever Lukasz was doing.
"It was just a normal preparation [as far as that was concerned], so I just got back in the dressing room, got changed and was ready to go.
"I didn't have a lot to do in the game and I'll take that on a night like tonight to get three points and keep a clean sheet."
It was just a normal preparation for me - I got back in the dressing room, got changed and was ready to go
Victory at Everton means the Hammers have successfully navigated a hectic Christmas week, taking five points from three games in six days and, as Randolph observed, leaving them well placed for the year ahead.
"Maybe a couple of those draws we could have won, so if people say we didn't deserve to win this one, maybe we deserved to win a couple of those we drew," he added.
"I think tonight we came with a game plan of what we needed to do, we wanted to nullify their threats and came away with the win."