Darren Randolph: City game definitely shouldn’t dent confidence
Darren Randolph believes West Ham United will take confidence from the way they performed at Manchester City into their final dozen matches of the 2020/21 Premier League season.
The Hammers may have been edged out 2-1 by the runaway leaders, who registered their 12th top-flight win in a row at Etihad Stadium, but David Moyes’ side matched their in-form opponents for long periods of the game.
The Irons defended resolutely and could count themselves slightly unfortunate to concede goals to centre-halves Ruben Dias and John Stones, while a positive pressing game yielded a succession of chances of their own, with Michail Antonio scoring an equaliser from one and hitting the post from another.
There was even an opportunity to snatch a point late on and, while Issa Diop put that header wide, goalkeeper Randolph says Moyes’ squad will still take plenty of positives from the way they pushed Pep Guardiola’s side into the next 12 games.
It’s a sign of how well the team has been doing and how well we’re playing that we come away disappointed to lose to Manchester City
“We were right in it and created some chances and probably had the better chances out of both teams, so we were very disappointed in the changing room not to get at least a draw,” the Irishman told West Ham TV. “It’s a sign of how well the team has been doing and how well we’re playing that we come away from here disappointed to lose to Manchester City.
“Before, we’ve come here and sat back and tried to soak up the pressure and ended up with nothing, but this time we were brave and got on the ball and caused them some problems. Instead of worrying about them, we made them worry about us by getting our dangerous players on the ball and playing to our strengths.
“It definitely shouldn’t dent confidence, especially the way we played. We’ve seen what Man City are capable of doing to teams this season, so we can take a lot of confidence from this and into the rest of the season.”
Randolph had precious little to do, with his outfield teammates’ hard work and organisation restricting City to just three attempts on target, including their two goals.
The stopper, who was called into action after Lukasz Fabianski suffered an elbow injury in a training ground collision on Friday, was impressed by the way the players stuck to their task against opponents who have repeatedly swept teams aside in recent months.
“It’s been a running theme for the whole season that the whole team that we’ve kept things tight and from front to back ran the boys their socks off,” he observed. “We worked hard during the week on how to contain them and winning the ball back and creating some chances for ourselves and everyone did their jobs.”
As he was at Everton on New Year’s Day, the No35 was called upon at short notice, and there was a further scare when Randolph himself needed treatment for a recurrence of the thigh injury that recently ruled him out for five Premier League matches.
“Lukasz got injured on Friday in a collision and I obviously had to wait to see how he was feeling on the morning of the game,” he explained. “Obviously he wasn’t feeling right, so I got told I was playing before we left the hotel, so I had another ten minutes to get ready!
“I had kind of half an idea from Friday because I can always tell from a goalkeeper’s reaction as I’ve had similar injuries in the past, so I knew it was going to be a struggle.
“As for me, I’m fine. It was just little tiny reminder that it’s still there, but I’m fine.”