West Ham United manager David Moyes, at half time in his side’s clash with Stoke City, told Marko Arnautovic he would score if he continued as he had been playing; the Austrian bagged the Hammers’ second as they recorded a 3-0 win at the Bet365 Stadium.
The emphatic Premier League victory was West Ham’s biggest since their 4-1 thrashing of Swansea City last Boxing Day and their first since the final day three points at Burnley last season.
And after four points had been collected against Chelsea and Arsenal at London Stadium earlier in the week, manager Moyes was delighted as former Potters attacker Arnautovic led his team to a win and third consecutive clean sheet.
“The team all mucked in and did their jobs and defensively we kept another clean sheet which is always good when you’re at the wrong end of the table,” the boss said.
“It was a great win in a really difficult game for us. We’re in a really tough and busy period and getting the first goal today was crucial.
“We came in at half time and I told Marko I was annoyed at him! He should have scored two in the first half.
“But I also said that if he keeps doing what he’s doing, he’ll score in the second half and he did in the end.
“He probably had three or four chances and in truth he should have maybe come away with the match ball. But he’s really beginning to become a really important player for us.
We came in at half time and I told Marko I was annoyed at him! He should have scored two in the first half!
Mark Noble scored the Hammers’ opener from the penalty spot after just 19 minutes, after referee Graham Scott pointed to the penalty spot when Manuel Lanzini was fouled by Eric Pieters.
Arnautovic hit the woodwork twice before he slipped a shot under Butland following a well-worked one-two with Lanzini to double the visitors’ lead, and late on, substitute Diafra Sakho collected another brilliant pass from the Argentinian and slotted home confidently.
But it was the defence which impressed Moyes, in particular. James Collins returned to the starting XI following Winston Reid’s suspension and was solid, winning everything that was thrown at him.
And when Noble had to be substituted due to injury, youngster Declan Rice stepped into midfield and guarded the back five with impressive composure.
“James Collins came in and he headed things, he dealt with things,” the gaffer continued. “It was a decision with Declan or Ginge, but Ginge came in and showed his experience.
“But Declan came on in midfield and did very well in place of Mark Noble.
“My big worry after Arsenal was that we had less time to recover and we were struggling a bit for players so we had to bring a few off; [Michail] Antonio for Chicharito and we ran out midfielders when Noble came off. Young Declan came on and did very well.
“I think Stoke has always been a difficult place to come and win. They’re few and far between, wins for me here, and so that makes it a good job. They put in crosses, balls to peter Crouch, and we defended incredibly well and made sure we blocked any shots they had.
“I still think when we broke, we passed it and we played much better football today when we got it and that’s why we got a few chances as well.”