Michael Antonio sowed the seeds for his winning goal against Sunderland on West Ham’s training ground this week.
The winger scored for a third consecutive match at Upton Park as West Ham battled past their former boss Sam Allardyce and his relegation-threatened Sunderland side.
Seizing upon an error from visiting left-back Patrick van Aanholt, Antonio cut in from the right flank to steer home a low left-footed shot – a move with which he has become increasingly familiar.
“It was hard-fought, they definitely threw everything at us. It was a good clean sheet and great to get the three points,” the former Nottingham Forest man told BT Sport.
“Randomly, I started practising it in training yesterday – cutting in on my right-foot. I put in five in five with no keeper, but I managed to do it against a keeper today.”
His own goalkeeper Adrian praised the defensive display in front of him as Sunderland were in the ascendancy during the second half where Andy Carroll struck the crossbar on a rare attack from the hosts.
“It was a hard second half because they are fighting for their lives,” Adrian said.
“We defended so well, we had another chance when we hit the crossbar, but I think we deserved the win and the three points
“We are on good run and we have to keep this going. The team are showing great spirit in the League and the FA Cup. We are having a great season.”
Adrian jokingly referred to Antonio as “the English Cafu” after learning his team-mate might have to deputise at right-back as Sam Byram collected a suspension-inducing booking – reprising a role he dealt with manfully in the FA Cup fourth-round replay win over Liverpool, having also opened the scoring on that occasion.
“It’s one of those things where I’m happy to play anywhere for the team to keep my shirt,” Antonio added.