Moyes: As a manager, you’re always looking for more
David Moyes has challenged his players to rise to a different challenge as they embark on a run of games against teams in the lower reaches of the Premier League.
After showing well against Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal, West Ham United now take on Stoke City, Newcastle United, AFC Bournemouth and West Bromwich Albion – all teams who go into the weekend sitting 14th or below in the table.
And Moyes wants his charges to take control of those matches, get on the front foot, show a clinical edge in front of goal and score the victories required to rise up the standings over the festive season.
“If you’d given me four points before Chelsea and Arsenal, I’d have snapped your hand off. More importantly, our performances have been resilient and we’ve been hard to beat and hard to play against.
“We’ve got different challenges coming up now, though, because we’ll be coming up against teams who we might be expected to show something else when we come up against them.
“I don’t think it’s a case of needing to get the players up for it, but more about if we can be good enough to take the ball, play more, be braver in possession and create chances. Those are the things we need to come to the fore.
“We have organised really well to be good defensively and now we have to show we can put players in attacking positions, get them on the ball and take our chances when we create them.”
We’ve got different challenges coming up now
While attacking prowess will need to be shown in those next four fixtures, Moyes is not about to abandon the new-found defensive solidity that has served the Hammers so well in recent games.
“We’ve done it in a couple of games recently, here against Chelsea and away at Manchester City, where we were 2-1 down but should have got an equaliser late on, so we’ve got that.
“The most important thing is that we’re not conceding goals. When we first came in, we found we were conceding an awful lot of goals, so thankfully the last few games have been better.
“I don’t know any good team that is bad defensively. You can have loads of attacking players, but you don’t win games if you are not good at the back.
“We’ve got good attacking players, and different types of attacking players, but we certainly still want to improve defensively. As a manager, you’re always looking for more.”
Moyes has also challenged goalkeeper Adrian (pictured, above) to maintain the form that has seen him keep clean sheets against Chelsea and Arsenal, and produce an outstanding display in the 2-1 defeat at runaway leaders Manchester City, where he replaced the ineligible Joe Hart.
“Joe hadn’t played that badly, but Adrian got in and I felt that ‘if you got in, play well and you’ll keep the jersey’. If you do, you will stay in, but if you don’t, you won’t.
“Joe is a quality goalkeeper with great experience, whether that be international, Champions League or Premier League football, and he’ll definitely play games this season.
“Goalkeepers, if you make mistakes, your position could be changed. It’ll be no different for Adrian, but hopefully Adrian keeps the form he is in at this moment.”