West Ham defender: Late goal feels like a defeat
08:15 14 February 2017
PA Archive/PA Images
Hammers’ Fonte of all knowledge is giving vital experience
West Ham boss Slaven Bilic may have been seething after Saturday’s 2-2 draw with West Brom at the London Stadium, but for experienced defender Jose Fonte, he has seen it all before.
The 33-year-old was keen to sweep the refereeing decisions under the carpet and instead concentrated on how well the team had played, and how heartbreaking it had been to let in the late equaliser.
“It does feel like a defeat because if there was one team who deserved to win this game it was West Ham,” said the Portugal international.
“We played really good football, created chances and dominated every aspect of it. Everyone was focused, but somehow we didn’t win this game.”
It certainly looked like the Hammers had grabbed all three points when they stormed back from a half-time deficit to lead with just four minutes to go.
But Fonte was outjumped by Jonny Evans at a corner in injury time and the ball hit the West Ham net to earn the Baggies an unlikely point.
“You know what to expect from West Brom,” he said. “They sit deep and let you have possession and don’t give you enough space, but I think we managed to cope with that well at times.
“We opened them up, created chances and we scored goals. It was just a shame that a few decisions didn’t go our way and to concede in the last minute is very disappointing, but if we keep playing like this we are going to win many more games.”
Shhh! Don’t mention the ref.
Let’s push it a bit. So what did the ref say about that disallowed goal?
“I don’t like to talk about that,” he said. “I need to see the video, but the information we had in the dressing room is that it was a clear goal.”
He continued: “It is a shame that these decisions are not helped by video evidence, because we can’t keep getting these decisions wrong.
“I hope something changes there, but the main thing is that we believe in ourselves and the fans were fantastic.”
Back on message, so how has Fonte settled in at the club, especially after that horrific debut which saw West Ham beaten 4-0 by Manchester City and the former Southampton man conceding a penalty.
“Listen, it was always going to be tough in the first couple of games,” reflected Fonte. “But the lads have welcomed me amazingly, the fans have been amazing to me as well. I know the league, I know the players so it can only get better and I am working hard to improve in every game.”
West Ham had to cope without Andy Carroll against West Brom and Fonte felt the team coped well with his absence.
“You always miss a player like Andy,” he said. “He is a top player and any big team would miss their top player like Aguero at Man City for instance. He is that good and when he is on form he is unstoppable.
“But I thought the boys played really well in his absence, they worked really hard and created chances.”
In the end, was it just tough luck that cost West Ham three points?
Fonte nods his head: “For sure, we were unlucky,” he said. “Everyone was disappointed with the result, but not with the performance.”
And that neatly summed up this match.