Michail Antonio was relieved to go from fall guy to history maker and get West Ham’s season up and running.
Antonio scored the first Premier League goal at the London Stadium on Sunday to secure a 1-0 win over Bournemouth and collect the Hammers’ first three points of the campaign.
The 26-year-old winger rose at the far post to head Gokhan Tore’s cross beyond Cherries goalkeeper Artur Boruc with just five minutes left.
It came less than a week after Antonio endured a torrid night at Chelsea where, playing at right-back, he gave away a penalty before being hauled off by manager Slaven Bilic.
Antonio developed a happy knack of scoring at Upton Park last term – six of his eight goals came at West Ham’s old ground – and he was delighted to get off the mark straight away at their new home.
“It feels amazing to be the first Premier League goalscorer at London Stadium and it’s one of those things I can always tell my kids,” he told West Ham TV.
“I had an interview last year and I was asked if I’d rather be the last goalscorer at the Boleyn Ground or the first goalscorer here – I said both, but this is a great feeling!
“It’s always great to be in history and especially so as the goal won us the match.
“We’ve always had the grit and we’re always going to keep going. Right now we’ve got the first three points in the Premier League and hopefully we can keep going and push on.
“It’s going to be a massive lift for us. To get the first three points as early as possible is always important. We’ve got it in the second game of the season and that’s nice.”