David Moyes will hit another managerial milestone when he takes his West Ham United side to Arsenal for their latest test on Wednesday night.
Having reached 1,000 games in management in November’s UEFA Europa League tie at Genk, the boss will now take charge of a Premier League game for the 600th time at Emirates Stadium.
And with West Ham heading into the contest fourth in the table, with the Gunners just two places below them, he is determined to register another positive result.
Here’s what the boss had to say in his pre-match press conference…
It’s great to hit another milestone on Wednesday.
I didn’t know that stat, but it’s a big thing. I got to 1,000 games a month or so ago, and I saw that as a big achievement, and I think to get to 600 games in the Premier League is a fair achievement too. The names you mention [Alex Ferguson and Arsène Wenger] are very well known and very successful as managers, so I hope I can continue working and trying to be successful at whatever level I’m at.
Heading to Arsenal is a big game for both of us.
It’s huge, like all the games are, but we’re positive and we’re in a strong position. We’re trying to stay there as long as we can and we’re trying to get to third if we can – we’re not looking behind, we’re trying to catch the teams above us.
Obviously we’re aware of the strength of the teams below us and there’s a good chance that you could drop out. You might get back in and there’ll be different times of the season when your form’s better than at other times, but I think it’s a strong position for us to go into the Christmas period in. Hopefully we can come out of it in good shape.
We’ve set high standards and we need to meet them all the time.
Burnley has always been a hard place to go and get a result. To get to a position where people might think, well West Ham should go to Burnley and win, that’s good but also on the other side I think it’s a little bit disrespectful [to Burnley] to say that.
Burnley are a difficult team to play against and have been for West Ham for many seasons. Maybe not last season, but we want to go and win and we probably should have won but didn’t take our chances.
We’ve challenged the big teams well this season.
I think it’s a mindset change possibly. We wanted to be organised and prepared against the teams who are so good with the ball and are used to winning, having top players and have built squads over many years.
We’re still in the process of trying to build a squad and team which can be competitive. At the moment, I think most people would think we’re a bit ahead of schedule of where we should be, so I’m pleased with that, but now we’re here I’m not going to give it up. I’m going to keep fighting for it, keep pushing and demanding the players give us continued results and keep it going.
I have to say there have been a lot of good things the players have done and it’s not easy. There are other games now where we challenged the players to make sure we had a go with the big teams, but there are other teams who come here and maybe make it much harder to score against them, so we have to overcome that. That’s part of becoming a big team, that other teams will try to do things to stop you.
Arsenal are in good form, but we’re in a great place too.
We’re in a great position going into this game ahead of Arsenal. We finished last season above Arsenal too, which for us was a big achievement, and we want to try and do that again. I think it’s much more difficult, we’ve been a little bit the Club that teams are trying to catch and challenge at the minute and it’s been the other three above that that people are probably thinking it’s very difficult to get to.
I’m saying well, bring it on, we’ll stand there, stick our chest out, take it on and see how we do. We’ve got no reason to shy away from any of the teams, we feel as if we can play against them and we’ll try to do that the other night.
I’m not surprised Mikel Arteta is doing well.
I did see those leadership qualities at Everton and I saw a little bit of the single-mindedness as well that he knew what he wanted and what he thought he would like. So it’s not a surprise [to see him do well]. He’s worked under Pep, who he’d have taken loads of information from and looked at how he develops a team and he was a really good footballer himself.
He’d be able to put a lot of information into the players and I think he’s made a good start to his Arsenal career. He’s done very well, got a couple of trophies under his belt, is building a new team there and that’s not easy for a young manager.
I’m sure Michail Antonio is about to hit form again.
He’s been amazing for us, ever since we put him at centre-forward he’s been unbelievable. The run of goals he was on when we came out of lockdown, his pride at trying to be a goalscorer and turning himself into a No9 and I think when you become a No9 you go through phases when you can’t score and the secret is to keep going.
He's a key member of the team and when his form is good, the team plays much better too. Whether that means he’s scoring or not scoring, his all-round form is important to how we play, so it would be good to get him right back to that top form. I’m sure he’s not too far away – I’ve seen signs it’s just beginning to click for him again so hopefully we’re not far away.