West Ham United hero Michail Antonio admitted that he was surprised by the slow start Tottenham Hotspur made during their 2-1 Premier League defeat at the London Stadium on Sunday, while speaking to the Hammers’ website.
Score early, sit back, concede, regret; it has been the story of Spurs’ season.
But in stark contrast to games against Fulham, Wolves and Crystal Palace – where Tottenham chucked away vital points from winning positions – Jose Mourinho’s stuttering side barely got out the starting blocks yesterday.
West Ham scored early in either half, taking the lead inside just five minutes after Eric Dier and Japhet Tanganga left Antonio free to scramble home the opener.
Jesse Lingard wasted little time in doubling the Hammers’ advantage after the interval either, with Lucas Moura’s clever header and a stirring Gareth Bale cameo not enough to save Tottenham from a fifth defeat in six league games.
Speaking after a result which kept West Ham in the top four, Antonio said he never expected Spurs to begin the game in such sluggish fashion.
“You expect teams managed by (Jose) Mourinho to come out raring to go, but they started slowly today,” said Antonio, who has a fine track record against the North London giants.
“They played on Thursday (a 4-1 win at Wolfsberger) and were maybe a bit tired from that.
“We managed to get that second goal at the start of the second half and then hold out. 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.”
Of course, West Ham had a bit of luck on their side; Bale hit the bar with a scorching volley, Heung-Min Son struck the post while a host of brilliant crosses flashed across the face of Lukasz Fabianski’s goal.
But Tottenham can have no complaints.
If you are not going to switch on until after the hour mark, at the home of your bitter rivals no less, you are asking for trouble.