'Back in the eye of the storm' Glenn Murray relishing relegation battle after saving Brighton at West Ham

Glenn Murray barely looked out of breath and appeared fresh as he conducted his post match media duties at West Ham.

Sunday, 2nd February 2020, 5:41 pm
Updated Tuesday, 4th February 2020, 10:06 am
Brighton and Hove Albion striker Glenn Murray made a goalscoring return against West Ham at the London Stadium

Quite surprising considering it was the 36-year-old's first Premier League start since September and the energy he expended during the full 90 minutes at the London Stadium.

Not only did Murray claim the equalising goal to earn Brighton a vital point from the 3-3 draw, he also gave a performance that at times proved almost impossible for the West Ham rearguard to handle.

Centre back Issa Diop - 13 years Murray's junior - had a particularly awkward afternoon as Murray backed in, held the ball up, ran into space, relieved pressure and then crucially provided a clinical finish when it mattered most. He had one clear chance all match and took it without hesitation - something that has rarely happened for Albion this season.

Glenn Murray's goal was originally ruled-out for a handball but the decision was overturned by VAR and the goal was given

Murray has of cause been doing this for years and has netted 25 goals for Albion in their last two seasons in the top flight. Game time has been limited this campaign and many expected him to depart during the January transfer window.

Head coach Graham Potter repeatedly stated he wanted and needed Murray to remain and after collecting just one point from their previous matches against relegation rivals Bournemouth and Aston Villa, Potter turned to his most experienced player.

"We might look back on this draw and see it as a turning point for ourselves," said Murray." If West Ham had won, they would have gone above us and it would have made everything look duller.

"I really enjoyed it and it was nice to be back in the eye of the storm and the battle. Physically I'm not as fit as I can be...says a 36-year-old," he said with a wry smile. "But I believe I can be fitter the more games I play. I got through unscathed, I got a goal and we got a point, so very happy."

VAR checks Glenn Murray's goal at the London Stadium

Potter has favoured the youthful mobility of Neal Maupay and Aaron Connolly this season. During the window Aston Villa, Newcastle, Nottingham Forest and Celtic were all heavily linked with Murray but the striker opted to stay and he once again proved there are few better to have when you are in a tight spot.

"I want to play football while I still can," Murray added. "I have always been happy at the club under the gaffer. I think he is a fantastic manager. I think he does things in the right way, we play football in the right way. I had to keep myself right over this four and a half months and wait for my opportunity and thankfully it came this afternoon.

"I think I can keep going but the decision is down to other people sometimes. I have to keep myself ready for when those opportunities arrive.

"Any professional wants to play regular football as much as they can and for as long as they can. That desire never goes but if it does then that's the time to hang up the boots."

Glenn Murray has found first team appearances hard to come by under Graham Potter this season

Murray has an impressive record against West Ham and the former Crystal Palace and Bournemouth striker grabbed his seventh career goal against the club.

"I wish it was that good against everyone. I have always liked coming to West Ham, they are what I call a proper football club. I have always liked playing against them.

"I still want to score goals and I still believe I can score goals. I proved that this afternoon but you have to prove that every weekend.

"Whether you are 36 or 24 or 27, every week you are asked questions especially if you are a goal scorer. That has never changed throughout my career."