Fornals cele Villa

Fornals: Now we can keep growing

Match-winner Pablo Fornals praised the resilience of his teammates, as West Ham United battled to record their first win of the Premier League season at Aston Villa.

The Spain international proved to be a familiar foe for the Villans when his deflected effort left Emiliano Martínez stranded in the 74th minute – the third match in a row he has scored against Aston Villa and the second in which he has netted the winning goal.

In the Hammers’ 1,000th match of the Premier League era, Fornals picked up the ball from Declan Rice and saw 22-yarder loop in off Ezri Konsa to spark wild jubilation in the away end, with an effort that secured the Hammers first league points of 2022/23.

The No8 was of course happy to net the winner – again – although he insisted that the attitude of his teammates was the key reason for the Hammers return to winning ways.

The lads were massive, with all the players bringing positive vibes in the dressing room and on the pitch
Pablo Fornals

“Today it was not a great shot, but a goal is a goal,” Fornals told West Ham TV. “The lads were massive, with all the players bringing positive vibes in the dressing room and on the pitch.

“I am really pleased to be the one that scored, but I think when we celebrate you can see it does not matter who scored, everyone was celebrating, jumping with our fans.”

Fornals’ effort proved to be the difference in what was a tense and cagey affair in the main.

Earlier, Villa defender Konsa saw his goal ruled out in the first half as a Lucas Digne corner swerved out of play, while Jarrod Bowen and Gianluca Scamacca – on his full Premier League debut – both went close to an opener, before Fornals settled matters in fortuitous fashion.

Pablo Fornals Villa cele

Now the challenge for West Ham is to build on this victory at Villa Park ahead of London derbies against Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea next week, something Fornals is determined to achieve.

“We are capable of scoring goals,” he stated, confidently. “We are a very good team and we have made a lot of good signings. It is just trying to be solid in defence and obviously we have a lot of players to make chances.

“We needed to score the first goal [today] and get the first three points, but I think now we can keep growing. I am really pleased with the team we are making.”

One of four goal scorers at Villa Park last year and the difference in a 2-1 win at London Stadium last season, Fornals knows this strike tasted the sweetest of the lot.

He seems to like playing both in and against Claret and Blue, then!

“Hopefully we play against them every week!” he added with a grin, in true Fornals style.


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