West Ham United travel to Huddersfield Town hoping to complete their first Premier League ‘double’ of the 2017/18 season.
The Hammers defeated the newly-promoted Terriers at London Stadium in September and will go above their opponents if they win at the John Smith’s Stadium.
A victory or draw would also extend West Ham’s impressive recent run to one defeat in eight top-flight matches – a run goalkeeper Adrian put down to the improved defensive performances instigated by manager David Moyes and his staff.
“The manager was very honest with us from the beginning; he told us that we were not running hard enough,” said the goalkeeper.
“He said if we did not work hard or run hard in training, we were not going to play. It didn’t matter whether you name was Antonio, Masuaku or Adrian, if you deserve your position you first have to show me in the training ground then on the pitch.”
We showed, since David Moyes took over the team, that we are defending much better
West Ham’s defensive shape and teamwork have both improved markedly in recent weeks, a 2-3 home defeat by Newcastle United and 3-3 draw AFC Bournemouth aside.
Moyes has made his team noticeably more compact, while the forward and midfield players have put in the hard yards to support their defenders and goalkeeper.
“We worked on basics because we had conceded a lot of goals so we were not doing well defensively – and I don’t just mean the defenders and keeper, we weren’t defending well as a team.
“The gaffer has come in at a hard moment but we are going in a positive way. We showed, since David Moyes took over the team, that we are defending much better.”
It is not only the form of Adrian that has been admirable but also that of young teen Declan Rice. The defender has been a regular presence in the first team, having already played 15 times this season.
The teenager has shown a professional mentality and maturity visible in each of his performances, as well as a tactical adaptability by filling a host of defensive positions, and he has certainly impressed his goalkeeper.
“I am really proud of him because he is really young. Just 18. He is showing he has good experience already in the Premier League.
“He did really well against Tottenham in a difficult game, a London derby, at Wembley. It’s not easy to play there, even for an experienced player.
“You think you are playing at a massive stadium. He did very well and deserved it, as he trained really hard. He has a long future at the Club and the manager is giving him a lot of confidence.”0