Jamie Redknapp has told the Daily Mail that Michail Antonio was the player who made the difference during West Ham United’s 1-0 win over Southampton at the weekend, insisting that Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men could not handle the forward.
The pressure on Manuel Pellegrini appears to have lifted temporarily after the narrow victory at St Mary’s. Sebastien Haller scored the game’s only goal during the first-half, and the Hammers held on to secure a big three points.
Antonio was outstanding throughout the game. The Saints seemed to struggle to cope with the Englishman.
He should have arguably won a penalty during the first-half, and was denied a goal after the break when replays showed that the ball had struck his arm before his superb finish.
And Redknapp heaped praise upon the 29-year-old following the win, suggesting that his display was integral to the result.
“Michail Antonio was the difference between West Ham and Southampton on Saturday. I was at St Mary’s and the home side could not handle him,” he told the Daily Mail.
“Manuel Pellegrini will certainly be glad to see him fit again. We all get sucked into managers being under pressure – myself included. We were all talking about how Pellegrini had only won one game in 10. Well now he’s won two in four and has Antonio fit and flying.”
Antonio has been a revelation since returning from injury last month. He was the catalyst for the Irons’ fightback against Tottenham that nearly saw them secure a point. And he has been excellent ever since.
West Ham have won two of the four games he has started since his return. They had gone eight fixtures without a victory before that, so it is arguably not difficult to see why some believe that he has single-handedly made a huge difference to the club’s fortunes.