David Moyes is delighted with the condition of his West Ham United squad ahead of Saturday’s Premier League trip to Southampton.
With no fewer than ten senior players returning to Club training from international duty this week, the manager was pleased to offer a positive update about his squad’s general fitness at his pre-match press conference.
Three of those internationals – summer transfer windows Kurt Zouma, Alex Král and Nikola Vlašić – have made their first appearances at Rush Green Training Ground this week, linking up with a rejuvenated Hammers squad ahead of a busy September fixture schedule.
“I think most things are all good,” Moyes said of his squad’s fitness. “I think it’s the first time since pre-season we’ve probably felt we’ve got everybody back.
“Obviously we’ve got new players in as well, so it just feels like the end of [a] pre-season really. We’re trying to get everything in a good place.
“It feels a bit like a fresh start, actually. We’ve got the boys back from international games because they’ve been away for a couple of weeks. I think we’re all in good shape here.”
Saturday’s trip to St Mary’s Stadium marks West Ham’s first game of a month which sees them face the testing prospect of six matches in three different competitions in the space of just 20 days.
Unbeaten thus far in the 2021/22 Premier League, the Hammers will be looking to maintain their fine start to the season whilst balancing the demands of domestic fixtures with the opening games of a first-ever UEFA Europa League group-stage campaign.
I’m hoping the players are all ready for it. We’ve got a good group of players at the moment – we’ve got a strong squad
A trip to Croatian champions Dinamo Zagreb falls five days after West Ham’s game at Southampton, and Moyes is looking forward to the challenges posed as a result of his squad’s outstanding efforts in securing a top-six finish last season.
“It’s incredibly exciting for everybody – we’re really looking forward to it,” Moyes said of the fixture list, before laughing: “I don’t know how I’m going to feel in a month’s time – I don’t know if I’ll be saying the same then!
“At the moment, we’re focusing on one game at a time, which you would expect us to do. We’ve got to go and try and pick up three good points at Southampton, and then obviously all our efforts we had last year have been rewarded by getting back into Europe, so we have a European game on Thursday night.
“I’m hoping the players are all ready for it. We’ve got a good group of players at the moment – we’ve got a strong squad.
“We’ve got the ability to change things when we need to, so I’m looking forward to seeing them all in action and seeing how we perform.”