Michail Antonio expressed his delight at putting a troubled week behind him, after scoring a last-gasp goal to secure a 1-0 victory for West Ham over Bournemouth in the first Premier League game at London Stadium.
The former Nottingham Forest winger was taken off early in the second half of West Ham’s defeat to Chelsea on Monday, in which he conceded a penalty following a torrid first half that saw him deployed at right-back and tasked with handling an in-form Eden Hazard.
Playing in a more familiar role on Sunday, Antonio made amends for that error as he latched onto Gokhan Tore’s looping cross to outmuscle Charlie Daniels and head home at the back post with five minutes remaining.
“I was just in awe of the occasion today and luckily I got to play further forward and got my goal,” Antonio told Sky Sports.
“It was an amazing game and the feeling of getting on the scoresheet and [to] get the first ever Premier League goal here, what can I say?
“In the week, giving away a penalty and then getting taken off straight away, you just can’t let it affect you and [you have to] move on, and luckily I did today and got the winner here.
“In football you always get a second chance, it’s just whether you can take it.”
Skipper Mark Noble felt the win against Bournemouth, who had Harry Arter sent off eight minutes before Antonio’s goal, illustrated the determination and grit in West Ham’s injury-hit squad.
“With the week we’ve had – a disappointing result on Monday, then to go all the way to Romania [for a Europa League play-off tie] and get back at five on Friday morning, then get a win at home, it’s amazing,” he said.
“We lost Dimitri [Payet] in the week for this game, and Andre [Ayew] and Aaron [Cresswell] as well, and obviously Andy [Carroll] and Sofiane Feghouli, so it’s been tough for us with the Europa League as well.
“But we aren’t just going to get wins given here. We’ve got to earn them, and that’s what we did. I told him [Antonio] to go and make himself a hero and he did.”