West Ham United striker Michail Antonio has admitted that he was surprised by Tottenham Hotspur’s slow start in the Hammers’ 2-1 victory over their London rivals at the London Stadium on Sunday lunchtime.
The Hammers maintained their impressive run of form thanks to goals either side of half time from Antonio and Jesse Lingard before Brazilian Lucas Moura gave Spurs hope thanks to an excellent header, rising highest to connect with Gareth Bale’s corner.
West Ham, who got the better of Spurs for the first time since May 2017 on their own patch, got off to the perfect start after just five minutes when Antonio, at the second bite of the cherry, put the ball beyond Hugo Lloris after connecting with Jarrod Bowen’s cross from the right flank.
It was nothing more than what David Moyes’ side deserved, as they came out of the traps quickly and looked to put Spurs on the back foot from the off.
Although West Ham had no complaints about getting off to the dream start, Antonio, who took his tally of goals for the season to six in the Premier League, has admitted that he was pleasantly surprised by Spurs’ approach.
“You expect teams managed by Mourinho to come out raring to go, but they started slowly today,” Antonio told the Hammers’ official website. “They played on Thursday and were maybe a bit tired from that. [We scored but then] they got into the game and started playing well.
“We managed to get that second goal at the start of the second half and then hold out.”
Although the former Nottingham Forest and Sheffield Wednesday man expected a faster start from Spurs, Mourinho’s side have been slow out of the traps in recent weeks, failing to score in the first half of their last five Premier League matches prior to their trip to the London Stadium.
After falling 2-0 behind right at the very start of the second half to Lingard’s well-taken strike, Spurs did turn the screw and piled no shortage of pressure on the Hammers’ defence in the hope of a recovery.
After Lucas’ header, Mourinho’s side did go within a whisker of drawing level when Bale, who stepped off the bench at half time, saw his fierce effort cannon back off the crossbar.
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In the end, though, the home side held on to record a massive three points, meaning they are now nine points clear of Spurs in the table.
Antonio added: “It was a massive game today. We saw the results yesterday and everything went our way, and we had to go out there and play the way we know we can.
“We didn’t play at our best, but we managed to grind out the win.”