Anybody who fails to accept that football – come to that sport in general – isn’t played 80 per cent between the ears hasn’t been watching West Ham this season.
Correct man management breeds confidence and a winning mentality and beyond the long gone Sebastien Haller that’s what has happened to everyone of this squad.
Whether they have been first team regulars or not there’s barely a player that hasn’t areached a seven out of 10 performance and often more when called upon to perform.
Young Ben Johnson is an example, a young man who was clearly behind Jeremy Ngakia last season but who has grown up into a West Ham team which fonally looks as though it may well hit the next level talked about for so long
Moysie and the backroom team – where Kev Nolan and Stuart Pearve have particular experience of what this club is all about – have been responsible and the boss knows how and when it started.
That was 12 months ago when we went to Arsenal attempting to stave off relegation and, although beaten 1-0, came away with the hope that all would be well
Talking to www.whufc.com the boss said: ” I had probably started to sense that the Arsenal game gave us some confidence
“Then we had lockdown after that. So, it shows you where we’ve come to now – there are no questions about relegation, all the questions are about ‘can you be in the top four?’ or ‘can you get into Europe?’. The transformation from then to now is great.
“And for me as a manager obviously you don’t feel as much stress, you don’t feel as much pressure. But what I will say is trying to challenge the top teams is always going to be tough, but I hope we can try and do that for as long as we can.”
The key to West Ham’s improvement has been a change in mentality.
The Hammers have been far more resilient than in previous seasons, winning 13 and losing just seven of their opening 26 matches, keeping nine clean sheets, collecting nine points from matches in which they have fallen behind – sixth best in the Premier League – and not making a single individual mistake that led to an opposition goal.
“I think we’ve been trying to push it right from the start about ‘let’s get the points, let’s keep moving forward, let’s keep it going’ and the results give you a better mentality, they really do,” he explained.
“It’s a very simple thing to say but it’s probably true. The more you win and the more wins you get you can talk about how things are going well and how good the mentality is without actually having any real background to it, but I think we’ve brought in three or four players which has helped it dramatically, it really has.
“So, I’m hoping that we can change the mentality at West Ham which is determined, committed and winning all the games. I don’t know if I can change everything in one fell swoop.
“But I do think that it’s a bit like ‘if you don’t get on board at the moment we’re not going to carry you along with us, you’re going to have to be part of it and if you don’t we’ll cast you aside’.
“So, it’s up to the players in the squad to show that when they do get the opportunity, when they do play, that they’re willing to come on board and try and work as hard, be team players, show their own individual parts to the game which get them in the squad and hopefully we can keep that going.”