West Ham United defender Issa Diop believes beating Spurs at their new stadium was the highlight of his debut campaign with the East London club.
Diop made 38 appearances for the Hammers in all competitions last term and wants to build on an impressive first season at the London Stadium.
Diop’s first season with West Ham: Five key things to know…
- Diop joined the club last summer from Toulouse for £22m.
- The defender played 33 times in the Premier League for the Hammers.
- The 22-year-old made more blocks per 90 minutes (1.1) than any other West Ham player.
- Diop enjoyed learning from Manuel Pellegrini.
- His favourite moment of 2018-19 was beating Spurs away.
The big defender won a lot of plaudits for his performances across the campaign. After a poor start to the season – losing their first four games – a good run of form in the latter part of the campaign led to a respectable top-half finish.
The Frenchman enjoyed his first season in the Premier League but revealed that the real highlight was becoming the first side to win at Tottenham Hotspur’s new ground.
“If I had to pick one highlight from my first year, it would be Tottenham away,” said the defender. “That was a great game, and for me, it was the best because we were the first team to score and to win in their new stadium, against a big rival too.”
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The Hammers also beat the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal during the course of the campaign, giving them hope for a strong 2019-20.
When asked what his expectations were for the coming season, the 22-year-old said: “I just want to play a lot of games and play well.
“I learned a lot from the manager last year. He is a very big manager, he has been at very big clubs so he has a lot of experience and it’s easy to learn from him.
“We always want to finish at the top so I hope we will make a better season and finish higher than last year.
“It is very important to have the experienced players in the squad because they know everything about the league, about the football. If sometimes you don’t know something you can ask players like Pablo and he will give advice, so it’s good for us and good for the team.”
The Hammers kick off the new campaign against reigning champions Manchester City on 10 August as the Premier League returns.