West Ham’s Michail Antonio explains ‘easy’ football thanks to benefits of Covid

EXCLUSIVE: Michail Antonio has felt the benefits of playing behind closed doors due to Covid-19, and West Ham have improved without fans being in stadiums up and down the country

Posted Saturday, January 16, 2021 by Dailystar.co.uk

Premier League star Michail Antonio says playing football has been “easier” without fans in stadiums.

The West Ham frontman believes having grounds empty due to Covid-19 restrictions has led to more goals.

Players can hear each other when they shout instructions and feel more relaxed on the pitch.

But he says it is harder to come back from a losing position because there are no supporters to drive the team on.

The season is being played behind closed doors in a bid to stem the spread of the virus.

West Ham’s Michail Antonio explains ‘easy’ football thanks to benefits of Covid
West Ham have enjoyed one of their best seasons in years so far behind closed doors

Speaking on new podcast On The Judy Michail, 30, said: “When the fans are there the levels of running is higher, the last 20 minutes is more intense.

"Without fans everything is calmer, everyone can play easier football.

"You can hear what each other is saying so it does make the football easier.

"That’s why I believe there has been more goals and stuff like that because it makes actually playing football easier.

West Ham’s Michail Antonio explains ‘easy’ football thanks to benefits of Covid
Michail Antonio was in top form during 2020 as the Premier League was played behind closed doors (Image: Getty Images)

"You can hear people speak, you can tell someone `man on’ and he can actually hear you.

"But there’s no football without fans - it’s not the same.”

Performing to row upon row of empty seats has not stopped Michail from perfecting his goal celebrations.

The star, who has scored 39 goals in 142 games for the Hammers, said: “The celebration - it got to the stage where I’d just got to the Premier League and I was like, `I need to be different. I want to be remembered for something. You know what? No-one’s really doing celebrations. I want to be known as the `celebration guy’.

Michail Antonio's celebrations are iconic, and West Ham fans certainly miss enjoying his goals with him

"I was watching The Simpsons one night and I saw Homer doing his and I thought, `This is the one. If anything is going to start it, it has to be this. If I score tomorrow this is the one’.

"Then that went viral and from there I had to do something different every time.

"The Ali G one - I did that for ages. The worm? I had to practice that in my room. You can get the worm wrong you don’t want to look like you’re having a fit on the ground.”

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