West Ham backed to ‘challenge’ Man Utd as Pablo Fornals outlines what has changed to ignite season

Pablo Fornals West Ham United 2022 TEAMtalk1 Credit: Alamy
Pablo Fornals West Ham United 2022 TEAMtalk1 Credit: Alamy

Attacker Pablo Fornals feels West Ham United are now evolving as a side and will ‘challenge’ Manchester United on Sunday afternoon.

The Hammers went into the weekend fixtures in 10th spot in the Premier League standings. That represents a huge improvement from when they were rock bottom after three games and 18th after eight. The East End outfit have won three of five in the top flight while drawing with Southampton at St Mary’s.

It all adds up to 14 points from 12 games played and a far healthier situation than a few weeks ago.

West Ham lost 1-0 to Liverpool on October 19 when they were arguably the better side.

They drew with Tottenham and lost narrowly to Chelsea, seemingly with an ability to raise their game against the top sides.

And Fornals wants his team-mates to channel the same spirit they showed at Anfield when they arrive at the Theatre of Dreams.

“We have to [perform] the same as we were in Liverpool,”  he told the club’s official website. “We were probably better in the second half than the first, but we challenged them and created chances.

“We’re going there to challenge Manchester United too. We did that against Tottenham and got a draw and also against Chelsea, where we should have got a point.

“I know Manchester United are doing very well and are also creating their own style.

“But we want to be where they are right now and facing them will help that.”

Fornals stoked by new West Ham style

West Ham brought in a number of players during the summer transfer widow.

Their impact was not immediate and David Moyes made no secret of the fact it would take time for the side to gel.

But they seem to be singing from the same hymn sheet at present. And Fornals believes there has been a change of tactics since the cavalry arrived.

“I don’t think we’re playing like we played before,” he added. “Our football has improved a lot.

“We’ve stepped up and showed we can have the ball too. We see a lot more of the ball than we did in the past.

“I think it’s to do with the players we have signed, they have a lot of quality and maybe we just have to evolve into a better team with them here.”

Fornals admits early-season struggles

After sixth and seventh-place finishes in the past two seasons, much was expected of the Hammers this term.

However, their dreadful start saw questions raised about Moyes suitability for the job.

But Fornals has now confessed that the downturn in results was inevitable given the influx of new recruits.

“Everyone needed to settle in at the start of the season,” he continued. “There were the new players, the new style, a lot of small things that affected us from winning games and performing as well as we should.”

The London Stadium side have shone in Europe, with five straight Europa Conference League victories.

They have already qualified as Group B winners ahead of facing Romanian side FCSB next Thursday.

Whether their European adventure has affected the Hammers league form is open to debate.

But it seems as though there will be little fear among the players when they arrive in Manchester.

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