West Ham's top-four hopes will be clearer after tough run - Moyes

Martyn Herman
·3-min read
FILE PHOTO: Premier League - West Ham United v Sheffield United

By Martyn Herman

LONDON (Reuters) - West Ham United manager David Moyes said he will only start discussing his side's Premier League top-four prospects when they have got through a tough run of fixtures starting with Sunday's home derby against Tottenham Hotspur.

Moyes has turned the Hammers from relegation battlers last season into contenders for Europe and they will face Spurs full of confidence after winning six of their last eight league games -- a run that has lifted them to fifth spot after 24 games.

West Ham, who are level on points with fourth-placed Chelsea, are 19 points better off than at this stage last season and a win over Tottenham would leave them nine points above Jose Mourinho's side who have slumped to ninth after 23 matches.

But with Manchester City, Leeds United, Manchester United and Arsenal to come after Spurs, Moyes refuses to get ahead of himself, although the Scot is clearly enjoying talking about the club's European qualifying hopes rather than the relegation battles he has twice been involved in at West Ham.

"Who knows when you are West Ham?" he told reporters when asked about where they can finish in the table. "After the next five or six games, if we get down to single digits games to go, then I could probably start to see what could happen.

"But while we have the level of opposition we have coming up starting this Sunday and going forward it's going to take a big job for the players to get results."

West Ham have not finished above Tottenham since 2008, though Moyes said he was not reading too much into their opponents' run of four defeats in their last five league games.

ATTACKING THREAT

Spurs rested talisman Harry Kane against Wolfsberg in the Europa League on Thursday, while Son Heung-min only played 45 minutes and Gareth Bale was withdrawn midway through the second half with the forward likely to feature on Sunday.

"I've never doubted the attacking threat Spurs have got and the qualities they have and we know we will have a really hard game. We know we are going well ourselves but they are one of the toughest teams," added Moyes.

While Tottenham's top-four hopes have dwindled in recent weeks, Mourinho is not giving up the fight.

"The same way you lose three matches and you go to a bad position, the same way you win three matches and you go to a much better position," the Portuguese said.

"Let's go until the end and let's see what the table will give us, because in the end the table will always give you what you deserve and I think it's very premature to think about the definition of the table."

Bale shone against Wolfsberg, scoring one goal and creating another in a 4-1 win in the last-32 first leg game, and Mourinho indicated that the Welshman, who has been given few Premier League opportunities since arriving back at the club on loan from Real Madrid in October, could play a role against West Ham.

"By taking him off, we managed to save him a few miles in his legs and probably..., I know that the match is already Sunday at 12, but I believe he has a chance," he said.

(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Ken Ferris)