Belfast Telegraph

Kouyate hopeful Hammers can put recent woes behind them

West Ham United 1 Swansea 0

By Andy Sims

Cheikhou Kouyate admitted his matchwinner against Swansea was his most important goal for West Ham.

The Senegal midfielder lashed a powerful drive past goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski moments before half-time to secure a vital 1-0 win.

The Hammers had lost their previous five matches and were in danger of being dragged into the relegation battle.

But Kouyate's strike lifted them eight points clear of the drop zone and eased some of the pressure on manager Slaven Bilic.

"This victory is very important for the team because we have had a few difficult weeks and now this victory is good for the fans, for the players and for the staff," Kouyate said.

"This is my most important goal for West Ham and it came in a good moment, but the really important thing was not the goal, but the three points."

The only downside for West Ham was a hamstring injury suffered by top scorer Michail Antonio, although Bilic expects the winger to be back before the end of the season.

"Unfortunately for us, Michail's injury came out the blue," Bilic said.

"We have to stay positive. Michail is like superman - he's always ahead of schedule. I expect he'll be back very soon."

Swans midfielder Leroy Fer reflected: "We still have six games to go and we must go into each one looking to win.

"Watford is next up on Saturday. It's going to be a hard game again, but we have to stay positive and go there to win. It's going to be massive, but every game left is like a final now."

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