David Moyes: We earned our point, and could have had more
West Ham United manager David Moyes was happy to see his side claim a crucial point against Manchester United – and felt they worked hard enough to get even more from their trip to Old Trafford.
The Hammers were forced to soak up spells of pressure in the first half but grew into the game against the Red Devils, deservedly taking the lead after Paul Pogba curiously handled from a Declan Rice free-kick.
Although Moyes admitted that this was a stroke of good fortune, he reaffirmed it was one that his players deserved, with Michail Antonio sending David de Gea the wrong way from the spot to capitalise and give West Ham the lead at half time.
Manchester United equalised shortly after the restart through Mason Greenwood, but West Ham steadily began to control proceedings, ultimately enjoying enough possession and chances in the second half to warrant their draw - and possibly even a win - in the North West.
Nevertheless, a point apiece mathematically secures West Ham’s status in the Premier League next season.
“Before the game tonight, we felt that we were just about there, really,” Moyes explained. "It was going to take a big swing of goals for teams to catch us, so we felt in a good place.
“Actually winning at Norwich and then winning at home to Watford, we felt as if that would be enough, but I think coming here and making sure we sealed it [was good]. For me coming back here it was a good point to get today.
“I think it’s tinged with disappointment in the second half. Certainly at the mid period, the 30 minutes in the middle of it, I thought we’d played well and could have got another goal.
“I have to say Manchester United played very well in the first half and penned us back. Fortunately enough, we got a penalty which gave us that chance for a lead – but we’d earned it. What the players have done and the way they’ve gone about their business, they had earned a little bit of good fortune.”
Antonio’s goal was his eighth in the last six Premier League games – and his tenth overall of the season – a fine return for a player who, up until the restart, had rarely featured as a lone striker.
Injury to record signing Sebastien Haller and Antonio’s fine form in front of goal has seen the No30 make the position his own, however, and Moyes was delighted to see his striker – as well as January signings Jarrod Bowen and Tomas Soucek – in such red-hot form.
“The biggest thing about West Ham is we’ve been scoring lots of goals and making lots of chances,” Moyes observed.
“It was probably a concern at the start, certainly coming back from lockdown, where the goals were going to come from. Seb Haller’s been out injured so it meant that we had to find somebody else who could do it – and Michy Antonio stepped up to the plate. He's scored us the goals."
Moyes can now look to build on this strong finish to the campaign, which has seen the Irons record just one defeat in their last six Premier League matches, winning three and scoring 13 goals in the process.
He added: “I have to say my focus has been completely on every game, so we’ve not been looking and talking to every Tom, Dick and Harry like everybody seems to think. We’ve tried to focus on winning the games in the Premier League.
“We’ll start to look to see what we have to do and try and get ready for the new season, which we’ll look forward to. Hopefully with the team we’ve got, we’ve got some good young players, and I hope that we can build and add to that.”