David Moyes gave a wide-ranging press conference ahead of Saturday’s Premier League fixture between West Ham United and Newcastle United at London Stadium.
The manager was asked about the challenge of managing during the busy Christmas period, his side’s recent upturn in form, facing old foe Rafael Benitez and how preparations are going for the January transfer window.
Here is what the gaffer had to say…
Christmas is always a busy time
I’ve been involved in football since I was 16 and Christmas has always been a busy period, and this season is no different.
It’s different from the rest of the season, because you would normally have more preparation time and time to feed information back to the players, as well.
In this period, you’re moving on very quickly from one game to the next and you’re concentrating on getting the players recovered and ready for the next game.
I’ve never known it any different, so it’s something you manage and get on with. As a player, you play twice in two or three days and it wasn’t that nice, but if you’re a professional footballer you understand that, if you want to come here and play in this country, you have to play over Christmas and New Year.
We still have a big job on our hands
I’m happy with the points we took last week and with our performances, but we are still a long way from where I want to go with the team. We’re at the rung on the ladder.
We’ve got a big job to do to make sure we stay away from the wrong end of the table, first and foremost, and we will take it a game at a time and try to improve our performances game by game.
We’ve had about a month and we’ve been able to get some work into the players and give them a bit of feedback on how we want them to work.
The players understand that it’s not possible to get in all the training and preparation work required at this time of year because there just isn’t the time.
Managers’ lives will be difficult from now on
Paul Clement became the sixth Premier League manager to lose his job earlier this week.
I know Paul well and he’s a really good coach and is experienced now. He did great job at Swansea last season when he came in and took them up the table.
I’ve experienced it as well. When you’re at a club which has been regularly around the bottom of the table, it’s very different to come in and completely change things around. Something has to change or one year you fall over.
Unfortunately, the game we’re in now means the manager’s job is very short and we all understand it now and that’s the way it’s going to be.
It’s got worse. I remember when I was young manager coming in and used to look to Italy and think how terrible it was how they treated the coaches and managers there, getting rid of them so quickly, but we’re up there now with how quickly we change managers around.
We’ve got lots of foreign owners, which has changed the dynamics, the money which is in the Premier League now has made things greater, and it’s getting much harder to play young players because of the profile of every game.
Virtually every game you’re involved in now is a cup final, but we love the game and like to be involved in it. It won’t change, but it changes if you’re a manager who doesn’t win enough games.
Ready for Rafa
I’m looking forward to facing Rafael Benitez and his Newcastle United team on Saturday.
When I was at Everton, Rafa had some really good Liverpool teams. In fact, I look back and I think it would be harder to come up against a better Liverpool team than one which contained Javier Mascherano, Xabi Alonso, Steven Gerrard, Sami Hyypia, Jamie Carragher, Fernando Torres, Dirk Kuyt – I could go on and on.
They were really difficult to beat, but we had a few battles over the years.
I missed Rafa in Spain as he arrived at Real Madrid just after I’d left Sociedad, but obviously we’ve come across each other over the years.
Let’s put on a show for the home fans
We’re at home and our crowd have done a brilliant job in helping us and nothing would please me more than giving them a great Christmas present of three points.
We had a really good win against Stoke, who are one of our competitors, and we need to do it again against Newcastle as well.
We’re at home and we hope everyone is behind us, so hopefully we can get the win and we can all enjoy our Christmas period.
We go into the game with big confidence, hoping to show our home supporters how we played at Stoke City.
We’ve had a good week in the Premier League. There are a lot of things we’re doing right, but I want us to be doing much better to get to where my vision is.
At the moment, the small things of being hard to beat and picking up points are the things we can do.
January preparation is well under way
I would hope that once the window closed last summer, the work on identifying targets for the January transfer window started then.
That’s what has happened at other clubs I’ve been at, where you look at what might be available and what you might need come the next window.
As managers, we do need a couple of windows to get players in or change things around, but you don’t always get that period to do so.
I’m hoping we can add to the squad but, as always, there’s no guarantee that will happen.
We’ve got areas we want to strengthen in and we have areas where we have a lot of players. I would really like players who I think could go into the team.
The most important players at this period are the ones who are at West Ham and it’s important they keep performing at the level they’re at. They’re the ones I’m really interested in.