West Ham: Michail Antonio insists he can form Gianluca Scamacca partnership despite David Moyes reluctance

West Ham: Michail Antonio insists he can form Gianluca Scamacca partnership despite David Moyes reluctance

Michail Antonio insists he and summer signing Gianluca Scamacca can play together, despite West Ham boss David Moyes’ apparent reluctance to pair the two strikers.

Antonio replaced Scamacca before the hour mark in yesterday’s 1-0 defeat by Manchester United at Old Trafford, with Moyes opting for a like-for-like change despite the Hammers trailing to Marcus Rashford’s goal.

The same substitution prompted an angry reaction from away supporters when Scamacca was withdrawn while West Ham were chasing a winner at Southampton earlier this month. Moyes has so far resisted calls to experiment with a front two, with the duo yet to start a game together following Scamacca’s £30.5million move from Sassuolo this summer.

Asked about the possibility of a partnership during an appearance on BBC’s Match of the Day 2 last night, Antonio said: “Yeah, I definitely do [think we can play together].

“He’s a big guy, he likes to drop in deep, I like to run in behind, so it’s something we can definitely do,” he added. “We’ve tried it in the second half of games but not really started that way. I believe the gaffer will be looking to do that eventually.

Michail Antonio insists he is capable of forming a strike partnership with Gianluca Scamacca (REUTERS)
Michail Antonio insists he is capable of forming a strike partnership with Gianluca Scamacca (REUTERS)

“We’ve got so many no10s, so it’s difficult to put two [strikers] out. Obviously, we brought Lucas Paqueta in so once he comes back [from injury], I feel he needs to start and we’re not going to push him out wide because we brought him in there to create.

“So, going two up front when he’s back is going to be difficult. The only time we could do it is around now while he’s not available but maybe with the teams we’ve been playing against it’s not something the gaffer’s thinking about right now.”

It was a familiar story for West Ham at Old Trafford as they again ran one of the traditional ‘Big Six’ close but left empty-handed, following narrow defeats at Chelsea and Liverpool already this season.

While Rashford’s header settled the affair, United’s hero was David de Gea, who made sensational late saves from Kurt Zouma and Declan Rice.

“It was a very frustrating game, one of those games where you feel we definitely deserved something,” Antonio added. “We had so many opportunities. De Gea was on fire today, Harry Maguire put his body on the line.

“It was just one of those days. We take positives, we’re at Old Trafford and we had so many opportunities. We’re definitely down because we should have got something but next week we’ll get three points.

“I was so close to celebrating - I can’t believe he got to [Zouma’s header]. He was just on fire and that’s one thing I give to De Gea, he’s got cat-like reflexes.”