The reaction of right-back Vladimir Coufal to defeat against Manchester City showcases a dramatic improvement in the mentality of West Ham.
That is according to ex-Premier League star Noel Whelan, speaking exclusively to Football Insider after the Czech Republic international was visibly distraught after Saturday’s narrow 2-1 loss at the Etihad.
After the final whistle, Declan Rice told West Ham TV: “You saw Vladi [Coufal] at the end with his hands on his head and the lads were gutted in the changing room.
“It wasn’t like that a year ago, but something’s really changed and things are improving. I thought you saw a different West Ham today, one which was confident and really believed they could take it to City.”
West Ham are currently 4th in the Premier League and on track for their best top-flight finish since 1986.
Whelan was particularly impressed by the reaction of Coufal and said it was emblematic of a team with a newfound self-belief.
“It shows the incredible turnaround in mentality, absolutely,” he told Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs.
“It was a great performance and they maybe deserved something out of the game, in my opinion.
“When you’re up against big sides like Manchester City who can make the changes they’ve got the squad for, it’s tough.
“But to put in that kind of performance and to push them so close is testament to how far they’ve come.
“Maybe two years ago and that’s a 5-0 Manchester City win. Now, you look at it and you think: ‘Wow.’
“It’s a massive turnaround, they’ve got some great players, great formation.”
West Ham signed Coufal from Slavia Prague for £5.4million in October.
Since then, the 28-year-old has gone on to miss just one Premier League game for David Moyes’ high-flying side.