Terry Westley praised a perfect performance from his Under-23 side as the young Hammers ran out comfortable 5-2 winners over Swansea on Sunday afternoon.
Goals from Nathan Holland, Grady Diangana, Dan Kemp and two from Toni Martinez – his first of the season – ensured West Ham romped to victory over last year’s PL2 Division Two champions. From start to finish, it was the perfect display.
“I’ve got to give tribute to the players, all the staff that work with the players” Westley said.
“Today is a combination of everything we’ve done, everyone involved in the academy because that was near on the perfect performance.
“Make no mistake, that was a really strong outfit [Swansea] that were taken to the sword today from our attacking play today.”
The two sides met in Division Two last season, with Swansea City winning on both occasions, but on Sunday, it was certainly Terry Westley’s men who flew into the ascendency.
21 seconds after kick-off, Nathan Holland wriggled his way through two Swansea defenders, into the box and slotted coolly into the bottom corner to give the Hammers a dream start.
“We’ve really got to come out of the blocks hard and quick – that was the message to the group today” Westley explained.
Holland produced a man-of-the-match display, at the heart of most of West Ham’s dangerous attacking play, and Westley was full of praise for the number eleven once more:
“That’s possibly as good as I’ve seen anyone play at this level for a long, long time. Both with and without the ball, but every time he got the ball he was an absolute threat.”
George Byers levelled the score on 16 minutes for Swansea, but from then on West Ham were in control. Holland turned provider for the second goal, combining with Grady Diangana who fired his shot from the edge of the box in to the top corner. Diangana almost scored minutes later when his shot, at the end of a superb solo-dribble, hit the underside of the crossbar before it was then cleared.
The biggest celebration of the afternoon came when West Ham scored their third of the afternoon just before half-time. Without a goal in competitive football this season, Toni Martinez finally ended his run by scoring a classic goal-poachers effort from close range as the match entered first half stoppage time.
After half-time, Dan Kemp scored the goal of the afternoon as he lobbed the Swans goalkeeper from the best part of 40 yards out, before the game was finally wrapped up when Martinez headed in Holland's cross from close range.
West Ham remain unbeaten this season, after their opening day draw with Everton and last Monday’s win at Tottenham, and Westley admits that the Hammers expectations for the campaign are beginning to change.
“We looked at Friday’s results, and so if you start pitching it and wondering where you could be – from ‘maybe survival’ to now ‘we could do a little better than that’.
“I really think our attacking play and regaining the ball is as good as anything I’ve seen so far, so with that attacking play and that high press, we’ve got a chance against anybody.”