David Moyes was not getting carried away, but he was a happy West Ham United manager following Saturday’s 1-1 Premier League draw at Newcastle United.
The Hammers looked in all kinds of trouble at St James’ Park when, having already had a reprieve when a VAR review ruled out Joe Willock’s goal within 45 seconds, nemesis Callum Wilson fired the EFL Cup finalists in front inside three minutes.
But the Irons are made of stronger stuff in 2023 and showed their mettle to level through Paquetá’s composed finish from Declan Rice’s corner just after the half-hour mark.
Both teams created opportunities throughout an enthralling 90 minutes on Tyneside, and the game could have been won by either of them, but ultimately Moyes was pleased with the application shown by his team to become the first team score against Newcastle in the Premier League since 6 November and extend their own recent run to one defeat in six matches – five of which have been played away from London Stadium.
It could have been all three points I’ve got you say we had to defend well in the second half on some occasions but I’ll tell you what, the team played well today.
We played really well in the first half, except for the first minute. We did a good job, we put them under pressure, we passed the ball much better than we’ve been passing it for a while, we didn’t turn the ball over as often, we retained possession when we got it into the forwards and the boys in the middle of the park got about the job and helped.
So, overall, I’m really pleased. It’s probably one of our best performances this season because we had to show a bit of fight and a bit of spirit. We had to show that we didn’t buckle after we went a goal down and also I was really pleased with how we played with the ball.
We didn’t panic when we went a goal down, took some passes and made it, so there were lots and lots of good things from the from the players today.
We showed great character and I’ve always said that I think we have it in abundance in the team.
But sometimes it can go against you. We got away with the first one, albeit the assistant surely has to see it’s out and he’s got to disappointed he hasn’t seen it. But anyway, we get it [correctly chalked off] with VAR, so then to be caught immediately you couldn’t nearly not get it worse.
But I’ve said to the players, look, we looked like we were more ready today and we wanted to go and have a game where we were looking forward to the challenge and only the first minute we could have put ourselves in big trouble.
So, it showed great character, we bounced back from it, took it on the chin and went again really.
I think tactically today we had to try and get something right against them because they’ve been blowing teams away.
We’ve been winning a little bit with the system we’ve been playing so we had to manufacture it a little bit to work on more when we were out of possession.
I’ve got to say out there the biggest thing was our energy. They are a really big energy team here and the crowd do incredibly well to raise their energy. If ever there was a story about what the crowd do to raise the energy levels of the players, it’s here at the moment where it looks as if they’re all running on a couple of miles extra on the back of the energy they are getting from the support.
So it was a hard place to come but our players have done it. We got a bit tired and we’ve got a couple of niggly injuries from today’s game, but overall they’ve done a good job.
We got a goal from Paquetá, but the biggest thing was we got a goal from a set piece.
I was nearly going to run around the pitch that we got a goal from a set piece, it was that good, because we’ve just not been clinical from them and we’ve not been as good.
But, look, we did what we did to try to find a way and we got in a position and I thought his composure when the ball came through to him [was superb] and he didn’t panic or slash at the ball.
I’ve not seen it again, but it looked like quite a composed finish at the back post.
We were actually talking about it this morning and we’ve only played two home games since the World Cup, since 26 December when we started back.
So it feels like we’ve very rarely been home at the moment, but we need to improve our away form.
We’ve now drawn at Leeds and Newcastle, we won in the FA Cup at Brentford and have beaten Derby away in the cup as well, so hopefully we need to start showing that toughness and that resilience and I thought for most of the game we showed that today.
We need to get back to our form.
We’re so desperate. We are not enjoying being where we are. We’re not enjoying maybe the way we have not played as well as we’d liked, but today, if I was a supporter, I would have enjoyed the way my team played today.