David Moyes responds to criticism from West Ham fans over style of play: ‘Probably some truth’

Pressure continues to build on David Moyes with West Ham in a relegation fight  (PA)
Pressure continues to build on David Moyes with West Ham in a relegation fight (PA)

David Moyes says he accepts criticism from West Ham fans over his “cautious” approach but insists he is “not enjoying watching” his side’s offensive struggles either.

A lack of goals has been one of the chief factors in the Hammers’ dismal Premier League campaign thus far, with Moyes’ side currently 18th in the division having scored just 19 times in 23 games.

Jarrod Bowen is the club’s top League goalscorer with just four this term, while Maxwel Cornet sits joint-top of the Irons assists chart across all competitions, despite having missed the last 22 matches through injury.

Criticism of Moyes’ tactics was fierce following Sunday’s 2-0 defeat to Tottenham, when the Scot set out in a conservative 4-5-1 formation and delayed substitutions until the 72nd minute, even after Emerson Royal had put the home side ahead.

However, Moyes insists that while his forwards continue to misfire, he has little choice but to try and make his side difficult to beat as they fight to stay in the top-flight.

“I think it’s probably got some truth in it,” Moyes said of being labelled cautious. “But I also don’t think you’d last this long in management if you’re only cautious with it.

“I’m not enjoying watching us not score, [but] I’ve got to find a way to say if we’re not going to score, then how are we not going to lose? If we’re going to keep losing then I won’t be a manager, so I have to find a way of getting the balance right.”

After a run of games against top-four-chasing Newcastle, and London rivals Chelsea and Spurs, Hammers fans are hoping tomorrow’s home meeting with Nottingham Forest provides an opportunity for Moyes to let his players off the leash, with January signing Danny Ings pushing for a first start.

Moyes continued: “Last year we took on the big teams and beat Liverpool, Chelsea, we’ve had some really big games where we’ve run teams close away from home. Even this year at Anfield we were very good. But we’re back to where we were two years ago when we were going through games trying to get points.

“I would take the word cautious but you call me that for this season, you’d need to put it next to the last two years because not much has changed.

Lucas Paqueta and Gianluca Scamacca arrived during a summer of big-spending (Getty Images)
Lucas Paqueta and Gianluca Scamacca arrived during a summer of big-spending (Getty Images)

“If you’d said we’d gone and brought in another four centre-halves to play different, I’d say who are they? We brought in [Lucas] Paqueta and [Gianluca] Scamacca and we tried to bring in attacking players to help us.”

Following the loss at Spurs, Moyes suggested he would find out which of his players was “up for the fight”, with the result leaving the Hammers a point from safety with 15 games to go.

The 59-year-old has been pleased with his squad’s response in training this week, but knows the proof will be in the pudding come three-o’clock tomorrow afternoon.

“I think they’re definitely up for the fight,” he added. “What we’ve got to show then is the quality, that we’re ambitious, that we want to go and win the game.

“Sometimes you just put your tin helmet on and you go out there and show everybody what you can do and how you want to compete.”