A clean sheet, an assist, a 4-0 win and solid performances at both ends of the pitch; an excellent evening all-round for West Ham United defender Ryan Fredericks.
The 27-year-old right-back impressed against Bournemouth in a resurgent first game for the Hammers under new manager David Moyes, whose appointment was only confirmed on Sunday evening.
The Claret and Blue backline restricted Bournemouth to just two shots on target throughout the 90 minutes, while Fredericks also provided forward bursts which yielded the accurate cross that Sebastien Haller finished emphatically with a bicycle kick.
Speaking after the game, 27-year-old Fredericks told West Ham TV that Moyes’ words to his new team ahead of the game were clear, direct, and influential.
“A good day – it doesn’t get much better. I’m buzzing for everyone,” he smiled.
“Obviously the gaffer’s not been here very long at all. He hasn’t had much time with us on the training field, but what he has said to us has stuck in our minds. Everything’s been short and direct.
“We haven’t been out on the training field for hours and hours and hours. With the experience he’s got, when he says something, it sticks – we’ve taken it on board and put it into practice. That’s happened so we’re buzzing.”
You need to be solid, not concede goals, and then when you get your chances you need to take them, and fair play to the boys up front, they were clinical today, really clinical
West Ham brought captain Mark Noble back into the team for the New Year’s Day encounter as part of a fluid four-man midfield, pushing Felipe Anderson forwards to support Haller up front.
The change in system brought about immediate dividends, Noble’s placed finish taking a hefty deflection to give the Hammers the lead shortly after the quarter of an hour mark.
Haller’s memorable bicycle kick followed ten minutes later, before Noble won and converted a penalty to put the home team 3-0 up after just 35 minutes played, prior to Felipe Anderson adding a fourth in the second half.
Fredericks credited the football his team played not only to the sharpness of West Ham's forwards, but also the side’s focus ahead of the crucial match.
“The boss said it’s not about going out and dominating every second of the game,” he explained. “That’s not what football’s about.
“I think unless you’re the top two teams in the world, you need to be solid, not concede goals, and then when you get your chances you need to take them, and fair play to the boys up front, they were clinical today, really clinical.
“It was a pretty high-pressure situation that we were in… but I didn’t see an ounce of pressure or stress. Even before the game, we switched a few things up, and it really worked. I think everyone on the pitch, even the players that came on to the pitch, looked free and looked like they enjoyed the game.”
As for his own performance, Fredericks admitted that he was buoyed by the words of his new manager beforehand.
“As the manager said before the game, you do what you’re good at,” he smiled. “Don’t worry about anything else - get the ball in the box, run past people, use your energy, that’s the reason I’m at the Club. It was nice hearing that and just going out and playing my own game, and hopefully I can carry on doing that.”
The win was the Hammers’ first in the Premier League in three matches, and their first at London Stadium in seven – but Fredericks has echoed his manager and called on his teammates not to rest on their laurels.
“The first thing he [Moyes] said to us after the game was that’s the minimum,” Fredericks said. “As long as we do that every game we’ll start soaring up the table, but we need to relax, stay focused.
“It’s not magic. Form’s not just going to kick in straight away. We’re not just going to win every game until the end of the season, it’s still going to be hard work, so we need to implement what he says every game, and we’ll be good.”