David Moyes: Lots of things have made me feel really optimistic
David Moyes believes there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic after his West Ham United side finished the 2020/21 season strongly.
The Hammers ended a uniquely challenging, COVID-interrupted campaign on a four-match unbeaten run, lost just one of their closing seven matches and rid themselves of the threat of relegation with a game to spare.
West Ham did not just stumble over the line, either. Under Moyes, the Hammers were the sixth-highest scorers in the Premier League over the second half of the season and scored three or more goals in a match on six occasions.
“It’s only Manchester City since the start of 2020 that have scored three goals [in a single game] more than us,” the Scot said. “There have been big improvements in the goals we’ve been scoring.
“There’ve been signs of going in a good direction at both ends of the pitch. Lots of things have made me feel really optimistic about what we’ve got. There’s been progress since we came in in January. In many ways people shouldn’t be surprised that we got ourselves together.”
My history is of building clubs, playing young players, bringing in players that can improve a club, and I think West Ham is a prime club for that
Having led West Ham to safety twice in the past three seasons, Moyes now wants to build on the initial foundations he has put in place.
The signings of Tomas Soucek and Jarrod Bowen in January undoubtedly helped keep the Hammers up, with both players making hugely positive contributions, and the manager says bringing in similarly young, hungry and talented players this summer will help the Club make strides forward next term.
“My history is of building clubs, playing young players, bringing in players that can improve a club, and I think West Ham is a prime club for that – a club with incredible potential which I actually think is a bit untapped,” he concluded.
“I think there are a lot of things going for the Club and if we are willing to nudge that along then I think we can move West Ham along. We want progress and build a team.”
Moyes also admitted to feeling a wave of emotion flowing through him as Michail Antonio’s four goals secured a vitally important win at Norwich City on Saturday 11 July.
While there was still more work to be done to mathematically ensure Premier League safety, the manager felt his side’s success at Carrow Road was a pivotal moment.
The Hammers had lost at home to Burnley three days previously and kicked-off against bottom-of-the-table Norwich just three points above the relegation zone with four matches left to play.
And the performance the Irons put on in Norfolk gave Moyes confidence that his players would go on to finish the job the manager was brought in to do in late December – and that is exactly what they did by beating Watford and drawing at Manchester United to secure their place in the top flight.
“I was really emotional a couple of weeks ago when we beat Norwich because I knew that result was probably the result that would keep us up,” the Scot told the Evening Standard. “Then, before you know it every next game was important. We didn’t switch off in any of the games, so big credit to the players for that.
“The emotions now are a big sense of relief. After the point at United, I think we had done it with a bit of style as well. We played well, we had improved, the players were showing good togetherness and team spirit.”