David Moyes has said his experiences at Manchester United and Everton are helping him to guide his inexperienced West Ham squad through the rigours of a European campaign.
Despite the challenges he is facing the manager has led his team to the top of Group H in the Europa League, into the Premier League top four, and past Manchester City in the Carabao Cup. The manager is pleased with his squad’s progress and has put this down to the players he has at his disposal.
“At the moment I am really fortunate,” Moyes said. “I have a talented group of players, we’ve brought in some players who have helped that, we have some players who have revived their careers, some players who are in the best form they’ve ever been in in their career.
“I feel we are playing a good style. I want us to be attacking and entertaining but I also want to be defensive and ruthless when we have to be. I’ve said to the players this morning that we have got a long way to go to reach the levels we really want to be at.
“I’m looking for things to be much better, clean, crisper in all our play. I don’t think we are anywhere near our top levels and that we will continue to improve. I’m certainly not letting up. And this has to come from the manager, the coaching staff and we need to keep pushing and making the demands on the players even bigger. But I’m really pleased with way they are responding. The turnaround I’ve had in a couple of years has been incredible from them.”
Since the international break, West Ham have won both their Premier League matches as well as thrashing Genk in the Europa League and seeing off City on penalties in the Carabao Cup. With two matches a week the Hammers squad is being tested to its limits but Moyes has 998 games in management with which to call upon.
“I am using my experience and past experiences on travel, preparation, recovery with Manchester United and Everton in Europe,” he added. “Even experiences when I was in Spain. Quite often we weren’t able to travel back on the day of the game, we had to stay over.
“We are inexperienced as a team and as a club in doing that and many of the players have not been involved in European football before.
“I have tried to balance it the best I can. Also not playing all the players has meant we have just been able to give four or five players some recovery and rest, even if we needed them on the bench. When you have got a squad like we have got it was always going to be difficult.
The season is well underway and the Hammers’ European tour has truly begun
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“But the one thing about that is that they all want to play in the European games and the Premier League games and the Carabao Cup. I hope I am able to pass my own experience of times I was in tournaments. A lot of the players are still young and the club is still young in terms of being a European team.”
The Hammers might be inexperienced in Europe but with three wins from three they have taken to it impeccably and Moyes wants more of the same.
“I want to try and be in Europe after Christmas by finishing one or two so we want to win the group if we can,” said Moyes. “We are not going to let up, we are enjoying it and won’t be letting it go easy but I have to manage Premier League games too.
“We are capable of handling it and the squad we have can handle it too.”