David Moyes: Reaching 1,000 games, setting records in Europe and targeting international caps for his players
David Moyes is targeting yet more records as he prepares to manage his 1,000th senior match on Thursday evening.
Fresh from leading West Ham United to a record Premier League points total and wins tally last season, the manager has guided the Hammers on a record eight-match unbeaten run away from home in the top-flight.
Now, Moyes is eyeing another landmark, as the Hammers could become the first English club in UEFA Europa League history to win their opening four group-stage matches without conceding a goal.
Having defeating Dinamo Zagreb 2-0 in Croatia and Austrians Rapid Vienna 2-0 and KRC Genk 3-0 at London Stadium, the Scot takes his team to Belgium seeking a fourth straight shutout victory on what is an historic night for him on a personal level.
Personally, it’s a big day. All managers who start would like to get to 1,000 games but rarely get there. It’s a big achievement, it is, and I think all managers would be proud of it. It shows longevity and consistency in the game and I’ll be proud to get there.
I had my 999th game against Aston Villa and it was another one which will always stay in my memory and thankfully I won that one.
I see a really good group of players and a team which is hungry and energetic and wants to grow. We keep the demands up, maybe more so because I want to win my 1,000th game but I also want to win the one after that as well.
When you become a football manager you want to win every game, you don’t pick and choose what you want to win and what you want to lose.
I’ve got to say after ten games of the season, our record and position is as good as I’ve felt but it’s about how we feel after 38 games at the end of the season that matters.
But I have to say the first ten games have been fabulous.
It’s been most of last season as well, the players have done a brilliant job.
We’ve had a level of consistency and stability that we’re not going to be a team around the bottom and hopefully more competitive than that as well.
I don’t think it’s been down to me individually. Everybody in the Club has been determined to give the fans a West Ham to be proud of and they want to go and support
Everyone in the Club has played their part in that and I think the job we’ve had to do is give them a team they want to come and watch.
We’re close to that but all the praise will always go to the players. They’ve done a brilliant job. How has it changed about for those players? Most of those players had been fighting relegation down the bottom end of the league.
At the moment, so many of them are getting big plaudits for what they’re doing and they deserve it because they’ve really turned themselves around.
I only want team players. I don’t want individuals or people who think it’s all about them. It’s for the team.
The other night, I didn’t think Michail Antonio had his best game at Aston Villa, but he made a couple of goals at the end and I really liked that.
He got assists which helped players get goals which as the season goes on we well know we need.
We’ve got a really great spirit at the Club, terrific spirit, the players are right behind it and my job is to keep them going on a straight line and keep pushing them to keep giving everything they can.
I think winning is a great habit to have. I believe that having good momentum going into the games is always good but every game has to be taken on its own individually
I hope we can take confidence from the games. We’ve been playing well for a long part of the season and we have to keep it going.
We know the importance of the game against Genk on Thursday night. If we win, we can secure qualification, so we see it as a really important game for us.
I don’t know if it was the plan but my expectation was that was what we wanted to do. I felt we’d be a strong team but what I didn’t know was how we’d cope with it.
Everybody has been involved as much as they can and we’ve got some really good results using everybody in the squad. Long may that continue.
We’ve still got quite a lot of work to do to get through.
I don’t think Liverpool will be thinking about West Ham on Wednesday night when they play Atletico Madrid so I’m not thinking about Liverpool when I go into this game. I’m preparing my team as best as I can for this game and then I’ll look at Liverpool.
We have looked at the other games and tried to rest players and consider things as much as we can.
As you go on it starts to become a little more interesting and tougher because you want to win, you’re desperate to get over the line.
I have to say the players have made as great start in the competition, to win three games has given us a really good chance of qualifying
I wanted some European football after Christmas time so I’m hoping we can have that.
The scoreline on Sunday at Aston Villa was great but I have warned against us in any way stepping down because I want to keep the standards high.
I’ve been quite critical of the players, because I want them to realise I want the standards to stay high all the time.
If we’re really going to continue on with our levels, we really have to do it in every game. Maybe not every player does it, but if we could get seven or eight player to the standard, we then give ourselves a really good chance to stay in a good position in Europe and in a really good position in the Premier League.
It’s very difficult to be very different in two weeks, but I know we’ll have a really good game against Genk and it’s a tough game.
I think all the games you have in this competition are tough. In football, quite often we only see the top teams and only talk about the top teams all the time, but I think at the level of football below that, and I’m referring to the teams in the Europa League, there are an awful lot of good teams who have done very well for many in years in their countries in their leagues and I would certainly put Genk in that as well.
We can become the first English team to win their first four games in a UEFA Europa League group without conceding a goal and everything we can get at West ham, we’re taking, that’s for sure.
We’re pushing hard and now you’ve told me that, I’ll tell the players that as well because we want to keep a clean sheet as that will give us every chance of getting a result.
If we won the four games, that would be a great achievement because this is new.
One of my biggest worries coming into the Europa League was how we were going to cope with it, with us not being used it too much, even though we have players like Tomas Soucek, Vladimir Coufal and Andriy Yarmolenko, with a lot of experience in European football.
In the main, I think we’ve done a really good job with it, we’ve coped with it as well as we can do. I’m embracing it, I see it as a real positive for the Club and I said the other week that Thursday/Sunday is good, but it would be even better if we could make it Wednesday/Saturday and that has to be part of what we plan to do as well.
From where the players have come in two years to where we are, it’s how they handle it now and how they demand of each other to not let it drop, not to get carried away with it and not to think being in this position is good enough.
I think we’re really fortunate that we have one or two players who demand we push on and don’t stop, so that helps me as a manager.
Ben Johnson has been very good. I’m really pleased with Ben.
He’s a bit of a utility player for us and he’s been here for a while, but he’s a really important to us in the squad. He’s been really important.
We’ve brought him on in different roles and he’s got a little bit of a chance to get some games under his belt and he’s not let us down and scored a good goal.
It’s good competition for Vladimir and I’ve got Ryan Fredericks as well. At the moment, Ben has done really well in a period and stepped in at a period when we didn’t have any of the other two right-backs available. He’s done as well as anybody.
He is a right-back and that’s what I think he will be. Can he play at left-back? Yes, because he’s competent with both feet, so he could help me out there as well, but overall I would say right-back.
I think Ben has shown big improvement and at the level he’s at, being involved in European football quite regularly will give him a platform to show exactly what he can do, so it would be good if got a call-up to the England U21 squad.
The other one is Jarrod Bowen, who I believe has been knocking at the door for England but I realise the quality England have got in wide areas – Sancho, Grealish, Rashford, Sterling – and it’s probably the biggest competition in that part of the field.
I think it would be good if we could get Jarrod a cap as I always get a big thrill if I can get my players get international games.