David Moyes: Preparing for Arsenal, Mikel Arteta and strengthening the squad
David Moyes says his West Ham United team need only to look at their success in the closing stretch of last season as they prepare for a tough run of Premier League fixtures.
The Hammers take on Arsenal at Emirates Stadium on Saturday, looking to use the positive momentum of their midweek Carabao Cup victory over Charlton Athletic and register their first Premier League points of the new campaign.
Moyes watched his team create a host of chances in their narrow, unfortunate, defeat to the Gunners in March, before they took points off Chelsea and Manchester United after the 2019/20 season restart, giving him the belief that they can do it again this weekend.
He faced the media in his pre-match press conference on Friday…
The morale in the group is really good…
They’re in really good spirits. We know we’ve got a tough game ahead of us, but I’ve got to say we know we can play much better than we did last week and we’re looking forward to doing so.
Looking at Arsenal, if you win two trophies in six weeks you’ll be high in confidence. We’ll well aware of that, Mikel Arteta has done a brilliant job in a short space of time and we have to give him a lot of credit for that.
My job is to go there and make sure they don’t have an easy ride. We’ll go there to try to win.
We’ll take confidence from our recent displays against the top sides…
We played well against some of the teams, especially at the end of the season when we showed it. If we show that level of form, energy and commitment we can get results again.
Those eight teams might not be the top boys this year, who knows how it’s going to be? We’ve got to aim to be pushing them all the way and I hope in the games we’re able to show it because we did show a lot of good things at Anfield, at Old Trafford and home against Chelsea.
We’ll take every game as it comes and we are very aware that we have a tough run of games on the horizon.
Arsenal are progressing well under Mikel Arteta, but we can get a result…
I think the biggest thing that Mikel has done is change the system. The other thing is he’s changed the mindset and the attitude of the players at Arsenal. They’re all running, they’re all doing the work for him and he understands that to be a good team you need to have all the attributes – that’s being a good football team and doing the other side as well.
We’ve seen Arsenal do that in recent weeks, but they are a new team, they’re in progress and still being built. We need to capitalise on those situations and go there and put on a good show. We did last year, we played really well at Arsenal last year and were really unfortunate not to come away with a draw at least. We’ll try to put on a good performance and get something out of the game.
Mikel was always slightly different in his way – he’s come from a good football background and was knowledgeable, but he would tell you himself that it took him time to settle in the Premier League and see exactly how it was.
He played for Everton in a really good team, and then went on to play for Arsenal in a really good team. For different reasons, he’s seen both sides of it, at Everton we had to fight and scrap for a lot of results and maybe it was slightly different at Arsenal, but he certainly had really good experience working under Pep [Guardiola], which will give him a really good guide to the early stages of management. I have to say he’s stepped into it really well.
The players who came in against Charlton did well…
I thought we went about it really well, the players who played performed well and for a lot of them to get 90 minutes was really important for them too.
Robert Snodgrass, for example, that was his first game since February, so he got the best part of 80 minutes. He’s an important member of the squad, but is he ready? Probably not because of the lack of match practice. For a lot of other players who have been doing all the training and playing some of the pre-season games it was important.
It wasn’t any more than I expected, but I was really pleased with how we played.
We’re actively trying to strengthen the squad…
I think we’re closer to getting players in. We’re edging towards it. Behind the scenes we’ve had a couple of offers in for different players and we're waiting on different outcomes, so I’m hoping we might have some news next week at some time. We’re trying to get ones in who will give us good balance to the squad, but we’re also having to think really clearly to get the right ones and make sure we’re doing the right thing.
The imbalance in the squad comes where we have fewer defenders to choose from. You have to remember we lost Jeremy Ngakia and Pablo Zabaleta, and Winston Reid left on loan as well, so the numbers in those areas have meant we’re short.
We will try to bring defenders in, but we’ll also have the option if I couldn’t get them in that we can use Declan Rice as a defender as well. Maybe I could strengthen in midfield and give the opportunity to free up Declan to play as a defender if I needed to.