David Moyes believes West Ham are approaching the next stage of their development as a club.
The Hammers are fighting for the top four and will move level on points with Chelsea if Arsenal are beaten on Sunday.
Moyes does not think there are any major egos in the squad, as he readily accepts that he was trying to build a squad that was capable of avoiding the bottom six, rather than qualifying for the top four.
But he now believes that the club are approaching the next level, as evidenced by the signing of Jesse Lingard on loan from Manchester United.
He has compared that signing with the purchases of both Mikel Arteta – now Gunners boss – and Steven Pienaar when Moyes was at Everton.
Speaking to reporters, he said: “I do think you definitely do need egos on the pitch but when you are just trying to avoid the bottom six you want players who are committed, working hard, dedicated, doing their job.
“And probably at the start of the season that is what most people would have seen West Ham doing but as I say it’s now bringing in Jesse Lingard, bringing in the next stage – if we can.
“But this is building in blocks. It’s about getting the foundations down, seeing what you do next, where bit might stall, and where it might not.
“Because I’ve had experience of this at Everton, seeing how it grows and seeing how you do it.
“Bringing in Mikel Arteta and Steven Pienaar and were two of the greatest signings I made at Everton. They helped change the way we played and the dynamics of the team.”
Moyes has reserved special praise for both Tomas Soucek and Vlad Coufal, maintaining that they have absolutely no ego at all, although he claims that the Irons may have to change the way they do things if they are to keep pushing for the top four consistently.
He added: “It has to be in stages.. I can’t suddenly bring in a superstar here, who we see and think is going to make the difference. I don’t see that working for a club like West Ham.
“I can only see West Ham trying to build on the foundations and what’s been put down – and nothing gives me better foundations than Vladimr Coufal and Tomas Soucek.
“They have no ego whatsoever – they run, play every game, I can’t keep them away from the training ground. They are incredible lads.
“To be fair you only need to look at the form of Slavia Prague to understand how they are doing so well.
“But if you don’t get those players at the start, I don’t think you can get to having the boys with the big egos when you’re bringing it along, because you need everybody to work in the same vein.
“At the moment, I am really lucky. We have a really good group of boys. Maybe to beat the Big Six in future years it might need to look slightly different.”