David Moyes has laid down a challenge to West Ham fans to silence their critics in the Hammers first home match of the season.
Former players, pundits and media have questioned whether West Ham’s superb season last time out came as a result of playing in front of an empty stadium, with questions over whether the players felt less pressure without a fanbase to answer to.
The Hammers were behind just Manchester City when it came to points gained at home last season despite playing only two matches in front of a small number of fans.
On Monday evening the London Stadium will welcome back 60,000 fans for the first time since last February and Moyes is backing the supporters to give his team a lift.
Sections of the West Ham fanbase are still not happy with the move to the London Stadium and vocally express their anger at club owners David Gold and David Sullivan but Moyes is adamant the crowd will benefit his team.
Asked if West Ham played better last season because of the absence of their home fans Moyes took umbrage to the assertion: “If I am a West Ham supporter I am taking that as criticism and I am going to prove to you that the team will thrive and that we do support the team,” he said.
“It is going to be interesting. We played very well last year during lockdown. I believe we will continue to play well with the crowd or without the crowd, whatever we get.
“I think the crowd can make a big difference. We’ve got 60,000 back at the stadium and I am expecting them to get right behind the team and show their support.”
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The Hammers fans will have just one new signing to cheer on in Alphonse Areola, although the goalkeeper is expected to start the match as the substitute, but Moyes is hopeful he will not be the only arrival this month.
“I do [think we’ll see some business],” said Moyes. “I hope to do some more business. We have been trying hard and we are trying to add to a good group of players.
“We have a challenging season ahead of us and I am hoping we can do something but we have no guarantees.”