West Ham United manager David Moyes was in ambivalent mood after his side’s 2-2 draw with Newcastle United on Sunday afternoon.
Having seen his side build on Wednesday’s 3-2 win over Chelsea and play some impressive attacking football at times, netting twice through Michail Antonio and Tomas Soucek, Moyes was disappointed that they ultimately failed to hold onto those valuable leads.
While a point against an in-form Magpies side – who had won two of their three Premier League games since the restart – was a creditable result for the Hammers, Moyes admitted after the game that it was defensive slackness in the crucial moments which cost his team the chance to claim all three.
“I think when we look back, we’ll probably think we’re disappointed after getting in front a couple of times, certainly the second time to concede a goal so quickly,” Moyes admitted. “By the end we probably were the team who had played the better – we got two or three chances near the end of the game.
“You’ve got to remember Newcastle are in-form, and they’ve showed really good form so far this season. I thought they played well in the first half and made it difficult for us in lots of ways, but all credit to the players. The players stuck at it. A point wasn’t the worst result, but I think we’ll all feel that there was a chance here to take three.
“The players are in good spirits. We played well in midweek and had a great win against Chelsea, and we came here today and did okay. I’m disappointed that we didn’t defend better at the times which really mattered.
“We’ve started to find the net a few times and probably could’ve done a few more times today, but ultimately, we’ve got to stop conceding if we’re going to win games.”
One player who once again impressed off the bench was Ukrainian Andriy Yarmolenko, who came close to winning the game late on – as he did against Chelsea – with a venomous 25-yard strike, beaten over by Newcastle's Martin Dubravka.
“He could easily start,” Moyes said of the Ukrainian, “it’s just with the form of Jarrod Bowen. Jarrod made the first goal today and has been involved.
"Jarrod’s form has been very good as well and they play in a similar position. We’ve got two very good players – Yarmolenko’s a very talented player.”
While those two crucial moments ultimately denied the Irons their first back-to-back Premier League wins since August, Moyes was overall pleased with his team’s performances over the course of the week.
The results attained against Chelsea and Newcastle have seen West Ham move four points clear of the relegation zone, ahead of Liverpool’s game against Aston Villa on Sunday, and Moyes reaffirmed that upcoming fixtures represent opportunities to stretch that gap still further.
“This was a huge game, because we’ve come through a really difficult period of games prior to the lockdown and also when we’ve come back,” Moyes added.
“We’ve picked up some points. We see these games as opportunities to get something on the board, but we have to prove it on the pitch, and we’ll go into the next game against Burnley on Wednesday and try and see what we can get from that game as well.”