David Moyes gave his pre-match press conference ahead of Sunday’s game against Everton and this is what he said:
It was a massive win on Monday and you had three of your big players for that as well, are you any closer to getting Declan Rice back?
We are obviously getting closer as we are another week down the line and we are hoping to have him available. He is back on the grass and closing in on it and undoubtedly he is a big miss to us and we will try to have him back as quickly as we can.
Michail Antonio said on Monday night he is no longer celebrating goals and his celebrations used to be pretty popular with the viewers, and the reason he is not celebrating them is because of VAR, is that a damning indictment of the way things are?
I think the managers as well, myself included. You do not want to celebrate because you are waiting on all the decisions and nothing is spontaneous the way it was before.
We are trying to get to the right decisions and I don’t think anybody is really truly in favour of VAR, they like it when it works but when it doesn’t they don’t so it is a difficult thing and it certainly needs improving.
But it is sad when players can’t enjoy celebrating a goal, and even managers as well, we enjoy those moments as well but now you can hardly celebrate because you don’t know what the outcome might be. When you look at the table it is so tight both above and below you, it has the makings of a six-pointer, but you have never lost to Carlo Ancelotti, so you have a good record and you go into it in good form. How do you feel about taking on your old club?
Well, I don’t have anything to do with records and I don’t listen to them because quite often this season I have been told of so many which weren’t in my favour and I have gone on to win those.
So from that point of view, I do not listen to them and I am not interested, to be honest. I have great respect for Carlo, I have great respect for Everton as a football club, so all those things make it a big game.
We both know that we are fighting for a spot in Europe, probably somewhere along the line somebody is going to miss out by the looks of it but I am hoping West Ham can make it and we continue to try and play well and put in good performances to give us that chance.
Can I get your opinion on the on-pitch protests at Old Trafford? What did you feel watching on from outside?
Well, the first thing I would say is I think the genuine supporters of all the ‘big six clubs’ who joined the Super League showed exactly what they felt. They felt it was the wrong move to make and they all voiced their opinion.
So from that point of view, I think Manchester United supports, or any supporters are able to do that. I think we have to make sure that we can have protests but we have to make sure we do not have police officers or anybody hurt in incidents but I don’t think it is meant to be like that.
I think the protests should be because you’re disappointed with the Super League going ahead or disappointed with the owners for coming to the supporters to talk about it. I think if you went to the owners about it they would accept that but I do think if there is any violence or trouble involved then it is not any good.
You have been linked with Ivan Toney who has been phenomenal in the Championship this season, you have done business before with Brentford is he somebody you are interested in?
Well, the first thing is I have been linked with quite a lot of players, and even if I was being linked with them I never talk about them because I do not talk about players at other clubs.
I would hope that other managers would not talk about my players if that was the situation so we will continue to be linked with players and I hope in the summer we will be able to add one or two players to the squad.
We don’t have the money and even you at Sky have a responsibility to make sure football clubs do not overspend by encouraging clubs and supporters to expect big signing all the time.
Do you have any other team news to let us know about?
We have got a few people back on the grass in training and we are hoping to have some of them fit, we have another day before we get to game time but we are hoping we can get them back. But I will not put any dates on it or any time scales for when I think we’ll have them.
It was good timing to have Michail Antonio back as you go into this run in and he showed you exactly how important he is to you the other night.
Yeah he is so important to us and he has been really since we put him as a centre-forward, after lockdown he has helped us so much and his goals I think he was roughly the top goalscorer around those last nine games and helped keep us up.
There have been times when he has been quiet this season but I think that is the norm for most strikers where they go through periods that they do not score or they don’t contribute quite as much.
Mick has been very good, unfortunately, we have lost him a couple of times with injuries but he is back, in good spirit, he looks fit and well so hopefully we can get that to continue right until the end of the season
What are you expecting from Everton on Sunday?
I think you will see two sides who know the importance of winning the game. I think Everton will understand it and realise if they can beat us then they are back in with a chance of getting above us first and foremost and qualifying for Europe.
We know if we can keep away from Everton then we know we will keep some distance between them but we are looking above and trying to see if we can catch the teams above. For us to get three points will be really really big for us, our home form has been good, so we have to try and make that work again.
What have you made of Everton under Carlo Ancelotti?
Carlo is a top manager and it was a great appointment for them getting Carlo. They have always been a big club and knocking on the door trying to be up around the top and I think now they have got owners who have invested big money in it and trying to get them back there regularly.
In my period we had a great time, we build the club up from probably a poor state and didn’t have a great deal of money to spend but I had a great chairman in Bill Kenwright who gave me all the encouragement and enthusiasm and backed me in everything I did.Sometimes in management, you need that and I was very fortunate, but overall it is a really good club. I see an awful lot of similarities in that period to where we are here at West Ham just now and I hope I can build West Ham as well as [we did] in that period at Everton.
Looking at the run-in you are only three points behind Chelsea with four games left and maybe they have some distractions elsewhere. Your run-in looks pretty favourable, I know you take each game as it comes, but there is an argument that Brighton, West Brom and Southampton have wrapped their season up, does that give you a bit of confidence going into this run in?
The way you said that I thought wow, this is easy I have got this all sorted! I wish it was like that but I don’t see any easy games in the Premier League.
You only need to look at how the games go they are so hard to call. You can turn up and maybe be off colour a little and not get the performance you want. We had a sending off the other week and Newcastle which made it nearly impossible to win, so small things can easily change the game.
In the same breath, we are in a confident mood and feel as if we are playing well so I think we will go into the games knowing that. If we have any chance of being in the top four then we probably need to win all four so that has to be the mindset I am in and we are going to do that.
If I fall short of that then we will fall into the Europa League and that will be great as well, I hope we don’t fall any shorter than that but if we do then we can still talk about having had a good season.
How different a manager are you from Everton days?
More experienced, but also I hope a bit wiser. I think we all agree things we did in our 20s, 30s, 40s, to where I am in my 50s we change in most things we do, to be successful in football.
I really want to try and win trophies and competing with the top teams and top managers. I think the past experience is helping me.
I’m looking at my time at Everton really fondly, but I’m also seeing West Ham in a similar situation and thinking could I do a similar job – regular European football, top of the league more often, so I’m hoping and thinking I can do that at West Ham as well.
What from that run-in can you bring in now?
I remember the year we qualified for the Champions League I remember the run-in quite well. I was going to say a comfortable-ish run-in but we had a couple of big games. One of them was Manchester United at home with three or four games to go.
Duncan Ferguson scored and we won 1-0 and it was an enormous victory for us because we were getting pushed by Liverpool for fourth. At the end of the run-in, you have to win big games. That gives you the chance of making it. We’ve got a big game against Everton.
I’m not saying that will get us in but it might go a bit towards answering what do you need to do in the run-in? You need to win some big games.
Options up front now?
I always feel we have players, and we’re starting to get some of them back, that we’ve got more options than we had. It was great we got Said in a position to contribute, Jarrod Bowen is scoring goals, three in five, but we need to keep the options and flexibility of the front players. I want to rotate them at times and I want to make the right choices. Fortunately, it worked and we got a good result.
Transcript Credit. Tom.Clark/Football.London