Jarrod Bowen’s performance was emblematic of West Ham United’s against Manchester United on Sunday afternoon: fully committed, always grafting, and unfortunate to end in defeat.
The Hammers’ hitherto unbeaten 2021/22 Premier League status came to a close in the cruellest of circumstances at London Stadium after visiting forward Jesse Lingard scored a spectacular 89th-minute winner against his former side.
Despite going into the game with two days’ less rest than Manchester United, West Ham were full value for a point up to that stage, having seen Said Benrahma’s deflected effort cancelled out by Cristiano Ronaldo’s tap-in in the closing stages of the first half.
They had one final chance to secure it when Mark Noble’s stoppage-time penalty was saved by David de Gea but Bowen, whose tireless running leading the line saw him assist Benrahma’s goal, opted to look at the positives from the defeat.
To concede in the last minute is always a kick in the teeth, but I think we can take a lot of positives from the game today
“I think it was [a cruel result],” the 24-year-old told West Ham TV. “The work rate was there and we played some good stuff up against an unbelievable team.
“To concede in the last minute is always a kick in the teeth, but I think we can take a lot of positives from the game today.
“I think that [our hard work] is a given, especially the way the manager is and the way the manager works. Hard work and work rate is always going to be there from us, and like I said we played some good football today against a top side.
“We knew we were going to be without the ball for a while with the football that they play, but we dug in, had chances ourselves, and a last-minute winner for them is always hard to take. There were lots of positive for sure.”
Discussing his role in the side, the No20 – filling in at the point of the attack in the absence of the suspended Michail Antonio – left everything out on the pitch.
“It’s different,” he explained. “I had a few little tastes of it last year when Mich was injured or we played in different kind of systems.
“Anywhere that I play on the pitch, I love playing. It’s different, but I felt like I did as much as I could today up there.”
Bowen also threw his support behind Club captain Noble, who came off the bench to take that stoppage time penalty, only to suffer a rare miss from the spot.
He noted: “You ask anyone about West Ham, and they say Mark Noble. He is the face of this Club and he has been for however many years he’s been here.
“Today was nothing. He’s come on and he’s hit the target, and it’s a good save. It’s a 50/50 chance when you take a penalty, and these things happen in football unfortunately.”
Thanks to their new European commitments, the Hammers are adapting to the challenges of a rigorous fixture schedule, with another quick turnaround seeing them travel to Old Trafford to face Manchester United once again in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday.
By the time the month concludes, Moyes’ team will have played six games in the space of 20 days – but that is an aspect of the season Bowen and his teammates are embracing.
“There are a lot of games coming up now,” he said. “We’ve got the Carabao Cup, then we’re in the Premier League and then the UEFA Europa League the following week as well.
“There are a lot of games, which as players is what we want, and we’ll go into the next game exactly the same as today.”