Haycock heaps praise on Hammers

Development Squad coach Nick Haycock was impressed with his side's exploits after watching them triumph 4-2 over Spanish outfit RCD Espanyol on Sunday.

Though the tourists struck first, Paul McCallum's first-half penalty, an Elliot Lee double and Josh Cullen's header saw the Hammers to a comfortable victory in the end, even after the Barcelona-based side had pegged the Hammers back at two apiece. 

Following success at this weekend's Absolute Sports Travel Cup, West Ham's second string are yet to taste defeat in their pre-season preparations and Haycock reckons it bodes well for the forthcoming campaign.


"I'm delighted with the lads," he told West Ham TV. "The boys who started the game set the intent from the first minute and I thought we were the better team in the first half. Obviously we conceded a sloppy goal, which will happen in pre-season, but we'll get back on the training pitch and make sure things like that don't happen again.

"In terms of the intensity, I thought we controlled the game. We moved the ball around well and showed an improvement from Saturday. Then the first-half team from Saturday came on and did the business. We spoke of high intensity, goals, can we get in behind, can we get in between them and I think you saw that."

While there was much to be proud of, Haycock took particular delight in four fine goals, not least after drawing a blank against Shakhtar Donetsk 24 hours earlier. Lee bagged two of them, taking his pre-season tally to four already, though it is nothing more than Haycock expects of him.  

He continued: "I think we deserved to score on Saturday as well. Some days they go in and on others they don't. We scored some excellent goals on Sunday and the future's promising.

"Elliot's a goalscorer and he's done it at every level that he's played for me. He's just got to keep working hard and I think he's improving. He's mentally disciplined and he's got that goal in him. The more he scores, all the better for him and for the team. 

"He scored a similar one here last year. He's got it in between the right-back and centre-back channel, where he can come in and shape it toward the far post. He does it every day in training, so it's no surprise when it goes in during a game." 

Next up for Haycock's charges is a trip to Sutton United on Wednesday evening and with some 24 players having been involved over the weekend, Haycock has a large pool of resources on which to call. The U21s coach is encouraged to see young men making the step up in class and saw many a good sign in Sunday's commanding display.    

"We've always said at this football club, if players are ready for the challenge, we'll put them in there and see how they get on," he confirmed. "In the majority of cases on Sunday they did handle it and it was a great day for the football club.

"We started to score goals on Sunday and, of course,  it's bit by bit. But in terms of the boys picking up their fitness levels and understanding slight differences in team shape, I think we adapted to that well. We got after the ball in the middle of the pitch and you could see that real pressure from the front, which is going to be a big part of our game."

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