Moyes will be looking for more individual ‘accountability’ and performances from the ‘big reputation’ players on Friday night as West Ham face Leicester.
Despite being the home side, and playing a team positioned only 12th in the league, West Ham are not the bookmaker’s favourites to win. They’re priced at 2.80 (source: My Betting Sites). Leicester are priced marginally shorter at 2.70.
The initial hysteria caused by his appointment appeared to be replaced with optimism. Messages coming from the club and the social channels were that players were responding well to training and training harder than before.
That optimism unfairly quickly disappeared following the defeat against Watford. In the press conference, Moyes delivered the following message to the fans.
“I want everyone to be together. I am not aware of the problems before I came, I was a bit surprised when I heard it [the board criticism]. I want them behind us to give us a chance of winning.”
Getting the fans behind both him and the team can only be started with three points.
This will help reduce the odd feeling at the club and toxic atmosphere in the stadium. Watford’s early goal knocked the confidence out of the Hammers, and Moyes will need to make them hard to beat. Too many individual errors led to goals.
Moyes did consider there to be some positives from the Watford game.
“There were good things from Watford. We passed more, ran more so we have to consider them as plusses but we didn’t score, we should have got three.”
Indeed, West Ham did create chances at tested Gomes. Kouyaté lacked the clinical finish that could have changed the outcome of the match. Kouyaté’s performance wasn’t the only disappointment.
Andy Carroll came close to being sent off, after just coming back from suspension. He didn’t win as many headers as he has done in the past, and Moyes will be looking for more him. It isn’t just these two players who have received criticism though.
A culture of low performances and low fitness brewed for 18 months under Billic across much of the squad. It would be naïve to believe Moyes can rectify those problems within just two weeks.
On the injury front, it is good news as the scan on Marko Arnautovic’s thumb shows it’s not broken and he is available for selection on Friday. That is despite his reaction to the injury suggesting it was much more severe. Moyes seemed to joke about this in the press conference.
“We thought it was bad. There are no breaks, it was badly swollen. He’s fine and has trained with a good plaster on it”.
Moyes historically has put out his teams to play with width, creating overloads in wide areas. Antonio will assist with this, but he was back in training this only week. A lack of fitness means he is unlikely to be selected tomorrow.
Hernandez who picked up a hamstring injury while playing for Mexico against Belgium is due to start running next week.
An early goal for West Ham on Friday night would quickly change the mood at the London Stadium. Failing that, a performance from the players that demonstrates commitment and desire will go a long way.