Michail Antonio has blamed fatigue and defensive errors for West Ham’s defeat to Leeds United in their last Premier League match.
The Hammers had a chance to close the gap on Chelsea in third spot and stretch their lead over their challengers for a top-four place but fell to a disappointing 3-2 defeat to Marcelo Bielsa’s team.
Declan Rice and David Moyes have both partly put the defeat down to fatigue in the West Ham camp and when this was suggested to Antonio the striker agreed, however, he also highlighted the performance of the Hammers defence.
“I am not a person for making excuses but yes, we played on the Wednesday and they [Leeds] had a free week, so obviously they had more rest periods, so they might have had a bit more in their legs but we didn’t really turn up,” Antonio told the Footballer’s Football podcast.
“When we got on the ball we did not play well, I feel like in defence we should have been slightly better, I don’t like making excuses. They did have a bit more rest, but I feel that we should have been a bit better on the day.
“Being in Europe, and also the cup games have started to come in as well so there have been a lot of games. I think it’s 34 [sic- 32] so far this season, so [we need to] keep going, keep building on it.”
The most frustrating aspect of the defeat for Antonio was that his team missed the chance to cement their spot in the top four.
“It was a big opportunity for us to build a little gap between us and [Manchester] United and the boys below us but obviously in the Premier League anything can happen,” he said.
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“Honestly, I would say we didn’t really turn up on the day even though we got two goals and it was 3-2, the way we played wasn’t up to the standard that we normally play at. Leeds played well, with a high intensity, they are one of the most difficult teams to play. The way they play is so different, they move you around a lot, so it is hard to take but we have to move on.”
Antonio has now put the defeat behind him and said the team are looking to bounce back when the Hammers return to action on Saturday against Manchester United.
“One thing with us, we don’t get disheartened,” he added. “We go again, we kick on, we have got [Manchester] United on Saturday, and hopefully we’ll get three points there.”