Friday 29 Oct
Updated Friday 29 Oct 14:29
First Team

Team News: David Moyes offers positive update on squad fitness

David Moyes


Manager David Moyes is pleased with his squad’s general fitness levels as West Ham United prepare to travel to Aston Villa this coming weekend.

Playing their fifth fixture of a demanding seven-game run, which encompasses 22 days and the Irons’ efforts across three different competitions, Moyes has rotated his squad and been rewarded, thus far, with strong performances across the board, four wins and four clean sheets.

As his side attempt to further their fine form in the Premier League at Villa Park on Sunday afternoon, Moyes believes he will have an array of options available, with several players making progress in their returns from injuries or absences.

"In the main, we're getting better,” Moyes confirmed, speaking in his pre-match press conference. “Vladimír Coufal, who had been out previously, got some minutes [in the Carabao Cup penalty shoot-out victory over Manchester City on Wednesday]. 

“Ryan Fredericks is making progress after having a couple of injuries. 

“Alex Král has returned after isolating [after testing positive for COVID], so we're pretty good at the moment, I’ve got to say. We’re in a good place.

"Like everybody, we've got some knocks and niggles and things behind the scenes, but hopefully we'll be fine.”
 

What we saw the other night was the reason why we brought him [Alphonse Areola] in

David Moyes

Enjoying one of numerous strong performances in the Irons’ penalty shoot-out win over City on Wednesday was goalkeeper Alphonse Areola.

A summer loan signing from Paris Saint-Germain, Areola has been rotated with Hammers’ No1 Lukasz Fabianski, and has not conceded in his four appearances thus far, including keeping clean sheets against both Manchester United and City in the Carabao Cup.

Areola was in particularly good form at London Stadium on Wednesday, pulling off strong saves from John Stones’ close-range header, Raheem Sterling’s deflected effort and – demonstrating sharp reflexes – kicking clear just as Ilkay Gündoğan’s looked set to score.

Moyes was full of praise for the 2018 FIFA World Cup winner, whose role in the West Ham squad so far this season has been indicative of a remarkable strength in depth across the whole side.

“What we saw the other night was the reason why we brought him in,” the manager reflected. “We brought him because we knew that, with the amount of games we were going to have and the level of the games – be they European or Cup games or Premier League games – we were always going to need good competition. 

“I think I have that – I think I have two No1s. It keeps Lukasz on his toes, and I’ve got somebody who’s in good form and ready to play.

“Sometimes, coming to a Club – even though Areola’s had a full year’s experience with Fulham last year – I still think it takes a bit of time to settle in, but I thought the other night was his best game for us and he certainly helped us to get through to the next round.”

Sunday's Premier League fixture at Aston Villa kicks-off at 4.30pm and will be broadcast in the UK live by Sky Sports. You can also follow the game at whufc.com, on our Official App and across our social media channels.