David Moyes: Chelsea, Michail Antonio and the London Stadium boost
West Ham United manager David Moyes says his team will enjoy the challenge of facing Premier League leaders Chelsea on Saturday.
The Hammers close a week which sees them take on both last season’s Champions League finalists with the derby against the Blues, with Moyes determined for the Hammers to show what they’re made of at London Stadium.
He will take heart from their performances against Thomas Tuchel’s men from last season and believes they can put his team under pressure in east London.
It’s an exciting game for us, as they all are.
They all excite me. We are playing the Champions League winners. Last week we played the Champions League finalists as well. I said a few weeks ago, I really want us to play the best teams and see how we do and see where we are at, it is the only way to find out.
I said at the start: 'Can we challenge them?' 'How well can we do against them?' So we'll try and do that against Chelsea.
We know it will be a big test.
Everybody playing against Chelsea is finding how difficult it is. We have seen the quality in Europe against Juventus as well so it's very hard to find any weaknesses in their team, they've got a really strong squad as everybody's aware. So it will be difficult. I've got to say it's a tough, tough game and I've got to say the manager has done a really good job since he's come in. He has won trophies and he's been successful, which at Chelsea is the requirement. You have to come in and compete at the top.
But it's a game we played quite well in this game in recent seasons, we had a great win when we were trying to stay up when Yarmolenko scores the winner late on in one of the games I will always remember. The three points were vital. We needed to beat a team near the top and I think last year we played quite well, we got unlucky that we didn't get something out of those games. But let's not kid ourselves, Chelsea are a top team and a team in form as well.
Michail Antonio is sure to find his goalscoring touch again soon.
I think when you're a centre-forward we can think of many who go through a barren spell and don't quite get the goals and it's not going in for them. I mean, Mic been a little bit unlucky, he had a really good header the other night that the keeper made a save from.
Mic is really important for us, he is a focal point for our team. We've needed him over the last couple of years playing as a centre-forward. We've missed him when we have not had him so I’m hoping we can get him back into scoring ways and into top form.
Sometimes I think all strikers would say they just need to keep getting chances and sometimes you will miss some. The worst thing is when you are not getting any chances or having any chances, so let's hope Mic continues to get chances.
This is the challenge for ourselves, keeping ourselves in that pack.
I said right at the start we finished two points behind Chelsea in the league and the challenge I put down to the players was if we can get the extra two points and whether those two points were going to get us in the Champions League or not I had no idea, but I've said can we challenge the teams in the top four?
There are a lot of teams who are used to being there and I think for us even to make a fist of it is a good start.
This time last year we were probably quite a little bit down the league and we only picked up in the second half of the season so we've made a really good start to the season, the job now is to hang in there and keep on the shirt-tails of the teams at the top and see if we can have a right go at it come the end of the season.
The players’ mentality is that they want to be in the top four, I certainly do and we'll need to see if we can improve that come the end of the season.
It’s a tight schedule but we’re managing it as well as we can.
You don't have any time to be honest with the programme that we've got. But it'll be the same for all the Premier League managers at the moment, certainly this week with three Premier League fixtures it's quite difficult.
I think we've seen a lot of injuries this week, it's the volume of games. We've tried to manage our players during the week and certainly in the European games we've done pretty well but it's not an easy thing to get back.
We've played really well for long parts of the season and it's always going to be the case, there will be bits of the season, there might be dips, there might be injuries, we've lost Ogbonna two weeks ago and we've not quite got that totally sorted, we've lost Aaron Cresswell.
So injuries will play a part in a lot of clubs at different times but look we'll get back to it, I'm sure we will. We just need to find a bit better form and use the ball better than we have done in the last few games and hopefully better against Chelsea.
Our fans will be huge for us on Saturday.
They've done a great job for us, the supporters have been really great for us all season, away from home and at home the stadium has been rocking.
I actually think it should be because of the way the players have performed, the players have done great things and even the other night when we were disappointed to draw, the number of chances we had and hit the underside of the bar, one headed off the line in the last minute, so we had a lot of goalmouth action.
I hope we can keep the chances up and let's hope we can convert a few more.