Darren Randolph felt West Ham United could easily have won a game they lost on Saturday. The goalkeeper was a spectator for long periods of the Hammers’ 1-0 Premier League defeat at Leicester City on New Year’s Eve, as Slaven Bilic’s side created chance after chance at King Power Stadium. However, missed opportunities, saves from Randolph’s opposite number Kasper Schmeichel and numerous blocks from a resilient Leicester side meant Islam Slimani’s unstoppable 20th-minute header was enough to secure a much-needed win for the champions.
“It was a good game to watch if you were a neutral, or if you were a Leicester fan because they won, but we had enough chances to win the game,” observed Randolph, who made two fine saves from Riyad Mahrez at either end of the first half, but was largely redundant thereafter. “We had a difficult first 20 minutes, which we expected, but they were a different team in the second half than they were in the first half and, if we’d stuck one of our chances away, we’d have got at least a point and possibly all three. “We will go back into training on Sunday and concentrate on the next game.”
That next game will see the Hammers host Manchester United on Monday 2 January, looking to repeat or better the 1-1 draw they earned at Old Trafford in November. Despite Saturday’s 2016-closing defeat at Leicester, Randolph says the Hammers will welcome the Red Devils with renewed confidence after picking up ten points from their previous four league matches. Having climbed well clear of the bottom three since the start of December, Slaven Bilic’s side will go into 2017 in optimistic mood, according to their Republic of Ireland international goalkeeper.
“If we’d won [at Leicester], I’d have said we’d 100 per cent have turned the corner, because it would have put a little bit of extra space between Leicester and us and the other teams below us,” the No13 continued. “It would have been four wins in a row, but it wasn’t to be so we’ll regroup and get ready for the next one. “It was a tough start to the season but the last few results obviously helped us a bit, so we go into the New Year and will start fresh and push on again.”