David Moyes interview: ‘This West Ham team is something special, the players make me feel younger’

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 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

When an authentic West Ham legend and the current club manager both agree that something special is happening down in London's East End, then it is as well to listen.

David Moyes believes this West Ham side, who are at home to Leicester tonight, can be compared favourably to the formidable team he carefully built during his 11 years at Everton.

Sir Trevor Brooking is also excited by what is developing.

"From what I saw last season and even last Sunday against Newcastle, I would say that David Moyes has got this team playing as well as I've seen, footballing wise, for a long time," says Brooking. "Perhaps 30 years or more."

Brooking played enough times under Ron Greenwood and John Lyall at West Ham to understand exactly what 'the West Ham way' meant.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

While the phrase mystified men like Sam Allardyce and even Sir Alex Ferguson, Brooking understands exactly what the fans of that time – and this – want from their team: football to excite plus total commitment.

That is what Moyes' team delivered last season to finish sixth in the Premier League and just two points off a Champions League spot. Those qualities were also there for all to see when West Ham twice came from behind to win 4-2 at Newcastle.

Recent statistics also support both Moyes and Brooking's view that, unlike past seasons where a high finish has been followed by an often dysfunctional struggle, this West Ham could be on a genuine upward curve.

Last season, the Hammers had the third-best points-per-game ratio in 2021 and only the two Manchester clubs scored three goals or above more times than them.

"I feel we have grown a lot over the last couple of seasons," Moyes told Standard Sport. "And the squad has great character.

"I actually think this West Ham team have some incredibly good traits, as good as any team I've had. Some of my teams at Everton were fantastic, we regularly qualified for Europe, got to an FA Cup Final — but I do think this West Ham team, if we continue to make progress — could do something special.

"My job when I came in was to keep the club in the Premier League. In a way I had to prove myself as well because a lot of people had doubts.

"I never doubted myself but I need the opportunity to prove it to others so a big thank you to the West Ham board for trusting me.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

"I felt though that, if I could get my feet under the table, I could help build the club and make it better. There are lots that can be done here and I am looking forward to seeing what it could look like in the future.

"As a manager my responsibility is to improve the team but behind the scenes the club are looking at how they can raise the bar, in terms of the supporters and the community."

The attacking intent West Ham played last season also belied the 'defensive' tag levelled at Moyes in the past.

"I've always had that label," he says. "I came from a background at Celtic, I was there from a really young age – and it always about winning. My style is to win and yes, ideally in a good fashion but it's no coincidence a lot of the best teams have the best defences."

Moyes does concede, though, he has had to adapt.

"I have changed as well and maybe now I am not quite as cautious and manage with more communication," says the 58-year-old. "I felt my time out of work gave me the chance to rethink and re-challenge myself.

"There was a big level of progress last season. Overall, the ambition must be trying to have some stability at West Ham. We had a great season but we have to prove it's not a one-off. We have to prove we're better than that and I think we are.

"I want to give the fans something to shout about. We have an energetic, exciting, forward-thinking team and we're trying to build on that. The players are giving me energy, making me feel younger, making me think more, challenge me more."

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