Pablo Fornals delighted to show his quality after struggling for game time


West Ham midfielder Pablo Fornals was delighted to make his mark at Bournemouth after he conceded recent months had not been easy.

The Spaniard provided the cherry on top of a brilliant 4-0 away win with a superb effort in the 72nd minute.

Jarrod Bowen did well on the right side of the penalty area but his centre looked to be behind Fornals, who in turn produced a superb scorpion kick to divert the ball into the corner via his back heel while in mid-air.

Fornals was visibly emotional after he celebrated in front of the Hammers’ large visiting support having started only three times in the Premier League in 2023.

“I tried to touch the ball, I think I was the last man,” Fornals said in his TV interviews.

“Everyone wants to play the minutes. Personally, it’s not been easy so for the chance to play I thank the lads as we had a great game.

“For us it is massive and for me personally to score a goal.”

The former Villarreal forward had previously been a regular under David Moyes at the London Stadium but found himself reduced to a bit-part role after he had started eight of their opening nine league fixtures this campaign.

More minutes have been afforded to the 27-year-old in the Europa Conference League but he had to settle for a place on the bench in both legs of West Ham’s quarter-final success over Gent during the past fortnight.

Hammers boss Moyes conceded after Sunday’s romp that he needs to find a way to get Fornals on the pitch more.

He added: “Let me tell you, he is a brilliant, brilliant team player. He’s a great lad.

“He’s probably not had enough minutes and I’ve found it difficult to find him (some). It’s not because of his form, because he’s a really great player.

“I hope we can find a way of getting him more minutes because what Pablo does, Pablo scores goals as well as his all-round play and it’s been pretty difficult to give him as much time.

“I’m sure he was emotional because he wants to play and he deserved it.”

Bournemouth will aim to regroup quickly ahead of Thursday’s crucial trip to fellow strugglers Southampton.

Cherries head coach Gary O’Neil said: “There will be no lingering. We will learn, as we always do, because there was big errors in the Spurs game.

“We need to learn from this but Southampton is a big game for us on Thursday so we’ll dust ourselves down and the lads will be ready to go again.

“It’s another game. Of course it is against a local club that is down the bottom of the league with us but as you have seen here, there are no games that are easy in the Premier League.

“We need to be better at coping with Southampton’s strengths and when we impose ourselves on the game, like we did at times here, we need to be clinical enough to make sure we punish the opposition.”


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