Moyes: We’ve got talented individuals who can make a difference
Pablo Fornals. Manuel Lanzini. Felipe Anderson. Sebastien Haller.
Just four of West Ham United’s team that manager David Moyes has highlighted as potential difference makers ahead of Friday evening’s Premier League match with Sheffield United.
Having secured wins over AFC Bournemouth and Gillingham in his first two matches back in charge, Moyes is looking to go three from three against Chris Wilder’s Blades. To do that, the Irons will need to show tenacity and see the side’s big names step up.
We want to see if our star players can step up and show what they’re capable of.
“This game is a notch up,” Moyes said. “I think there are only two teams that have conceded less goals than Sheffield United and they’ve also shown that they have got an attacking purpose. For us, we want to see if our star players can step up and show what they’re capable of.
“It’s also for us to show we are rugged, committed, resilient – which we’ve shown a little bit – and all those things which maybe at time haven’t always been noticeable. We have to, first and foremost, show we can do that at Sheffield, and then I think we have got talented individuals that can make a difference.”
What is the manager looking for from his attacking stars against Sheffield United?
Spaniard Pablo Fornals has made a positive start to life under new manager Moyes, securing the win in the FA Cup third round away to the Gills with his second goal in three games.
Moyes is delighted with the effort showed by the summer signing in the last two weeks and now wants to see Fornals offer a little more in terms of creativity, with the playmaker still adapting to life in the Premier League.
“I’ve really liked the boy since I’ve come here,” Moyes said. “Pablo has smiled and done the work and I think getting the goal the other night [at Gillingham] was good for him as well. The big thing is that his running stats are very good for us.
“I’m looking for a little bit more in his contribution with the ball and the things he does in the game, but I have to say that it’s never easy for a Spanish player to come to the Premier League. I think that can be a difficult time.”
“I thought Lanzini was the best player against Gillingham,” the manager observed “I thought he was the best player on the pitch. I thought he was the one that took the ball the most and did more and made things happened.”
The Argentinian started the win over the Gills, having come off the bench against Bournemouth, and showed glimpses of the quality that saw the playmaker initially named in his nation’s World Cup squad in 2018, during Moyes’ first spell with West Ham.
The No10 has since come back from an ACL injury and a fractured collarbone, and Moyes is confident that West Ham fans will soon be once again seeing the very best of The Jewel.
The manager certainly knows Lanzini's quality, with the 26-year-old having a role in eleven goals in 23 appearances under Moyes.
“People told me that, since his injury, he hadn’t maybe been the same, but when he came on against Bournemouth, he had two attempts at goal. I can only judge on what I see at the moment, and Manu has looked very good in training.”
A fine finish by Anderson put the cherry on the icing on the cake for West Ham at home to Bournemouth on New Years’ Day. The Brazilian’s first goal of the season secured a fantastic win in Moyes’ first game back at London Stadium.
For the manager, Felipe Anderson is the personification of what he wants from West Ham United. Consistency is key; for both the player and the Hammers as a whole.
Moyes said: “He got us a goal in the first game, and he made a goal against Gillingham with a pass. I think, if we’re getting those levels from him, then what I want is consistency. And I want that throughout West Ham. I want a consistent West Ham.
“I’m going to work over the coming months to get that consistency, and I’m going to say that about Felipe too. I want that consistency and in the two games, he’s been really good, and his work for the team has been excellent.”
West Ham’s Club-record signing scored an early contender for goal of 2020 with his acrobatic finish versus the Cherries, netting his sixth Premier League goal of the season.
For manager Moyes, the key to ensuring the Irons have a prolific Haller leading the line is providing him the service he craves. Haller’s latest finish was similar to his first for the Irons. A cross into the box, and a clever goal for the Frenchman.
With a tough game against the Blades drawing nearer, Moyes wants more of that approach from his side.
He added; “If you’re a centre forward, then you want to score with every opportunity that you get. You want to take your chance. We’re planning to get him more service, more balls in the box and give him more of what he needs. We gave him one against Bournemouth and he took it.
“He has to work for the team, and he knows that. I hope he can keep his run of form. We’ve only seen bits of his finishing, but his finishing looks really good. We need to make sure we’re giving him plenty of service.”