David Moyes gave his virtual pre-match press conference on Friday and this is what he had to say:
Any team news for Monday, please?
We are pretty much as we were. Lukasz Fabianski hasn’t trained yet but has a chance to play, Darren Randolph has got a little bit of a problem with his hip and is doing a bit of work in the gym so we have a little bit of consideration for both our goalkeepers, but I am hoping that I will have one of them fit for Monday night.
It is nine days between games, what is the biggest positive of having that gap?
It is strange, you moan when there are too many games and then you moan when there is too big a break! It has felt like quite a long break but it is the way it comes and the team has to handle a lot of different situations, but it has given the players a couple of days’ rest and recovery.
We really want to keep going as we have been doing so well and the performances have been so good, we are happy to keep going and playing at this moment in time.
The West Ham fans are dreaming of Champions League football, what is your message to them, is it on?
We are going to try, I can’t promise them that it is on but I can tell them that we will try and do what we can, but you only need to see the level of the teams competing for it. Trying to break into the top four in any season is a monumental effort for some of the teams that have not had the finances which many of the teams at the top have had.
But once you get into the Champions League obviously that generates more money as well which allows you to buy better players and in turn, probably have a better team, but there is always a first for everything, We have been breaking a few firsts this year and I hope that we are able to do everything we can and challenge the top teams.
IFAB has announced the handball rule will change as of July 1 where ‘if an accidental handball that leads to a teammate scoring or leads to a goalscoring opportunity will no longer be an offence’. What are your thoughts on that?
I thought that had changed because a year and a half ago when Declan Rice against Sheffield United touched the ball onto Robert Snodgrass he scored the goal, I thought that they said that would never happen again?
So I don’t know what the rule was anyway, so I am not too sure what is correct. What I will say is it is amazing that they have just come out with that rule today after a ridiculously bad decision at Fulham.
I don’t think anybody who plays football thought in any way that that was a deliberate or a meaningful handball in any way so I wonder if they are just covering things up because that decision was so poor.
Did you know Glenn Roder very well? Any abiding memory of him?
I did not know Glenn that well, I came up against him a few times but personally, I did not know him that well. But I know from the LMA [League Managers Association], and the people around the LMA spoke incredibly highly of him.
I heard Gary Neville talking about when he was involved in the England set-up which was interesting to hear and he seemed a really good guy.
I was aware of his illness for quite a while but for someone to lose their life so young is sad and my condolences go to his family and it is a really sad time for his family and for the people who knew him well.
The international window brings the possibility of ten-day quarantines when players return have you or the club made any kind of decision on whether you will allow those players on international duty to leave or not?
We have not made any decision because we are waiting on the Premier League or the government to make a decision because we can only be guided by them.
Once they make a decision and have decided what is right I think everybody will know what to do but I don’t think we have any reason to let players go if they are going to have to come back and stay in a hotel for five or ten days.
This is a strange situation and I hope that the Premier League and the government are able to find a way of solving it.
What would represent a satisfactory season for you? Would top ten represent an anti-climax now?
No, it wouldn’t. But I have to say we are big outsiders for the Champions League because there are lots of teams there, but if you watch the racing at Cheltenham quite often the outsiders do well and come good so I am hoping I am one of those big outsiders and we can shock a few.
But I don’t think we are kidding anybody when we are in a position to be in that place but the resilience the commitment, the determination the players have shown nothing would surprise me with them, it really wouldn’t.
But at the start [of the season], if you would have given me top ten I would have said ‘thank you very much it would be a good season for West Ham and it would show that progress had been made’.
We don’t want to lose the fact that making progress is important. The position we are in at the moment is an incredible position to be in and I hope we can stay in it and we will do everything we can to stay in the role we are in.
Is there a sense of excitement at the situation you find yourself in?
A little bit, there was a sense of disappointment when we dropped out [of the top-four] last night so that gives an idea of how we feel about it. We are tough and we know that when you get an opportunity you need to try and take it but I think if we didn’t make it we would not beat ourselves up about it.
What we will try and do is give everything we can do give try and be amongst it.
Is it hard to know what you are going to get with Leeds because they have been quite inconsistent?
They have been but you have to say for a team coming into the Premier League they have also done very well. When we saw Leeds in the Championship and the way they played and their momentum it was always going to cause teams problems and it has.
It doesn’t matter who they have played they have made chances and got opportunities so we know how tough it is going to be, we got a good result up at Elland Road and I hope we can back it up with a good result at the London Stadium.
Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa said one of the key things for West Ham has been you have been able to play Tomas Soucek and Declan Rice so consistently, would you agree?
One hundred percent. He is an incredible coach Marcelo Bielsa and has been throughout his career and he knows that when you get a level of consistency in your team it makes a big difference, but we are fortunate at the moment that they have gone well.
It has been really important that we have kept those two fit.
Soucek and Rice seem to be the first names on the team sheets for you at the moment. How pleased are you that not only are they a stable partnership but that you have not been concerned with injuries to them?
The big thing that really pleases me is that one of them is 22 and the other only 24 so just think of the potential the two of them have got going forward, their partnership, and what we could have.
Of course, somewhere along the line, there will be injuries, suspensions, maybe things will change but while they are in the condition they are we are positive and the two of them are athletic and fit. They both have great energy and we want them to both continue to improve and hopefully, the two of them have a long time together and continue to give us good results.
Soucek has said the players want to go into the international break in the top-four and what that would mean to them and a win against Leeds would show just how good you are, are you pleased to hear that?
It’s great when your players are doing the talking and I don’t need to do it. It is telling me a little bit about their mentality and what they see and obviously we pass on our thoughts and what we think we have to do but they are driving it on.
Tomas [Soucek] and Vladimir [Coufal] have both brought something else to the club, a little bit of humility, happy to be here and driving it on. They both came from a club that won regularly, week in week out in the Czech Republic so they brought that mentality as well.
When we score one goal they want to score the second goal, they don’t want to lose and I know Vladimir was really disappointed we didn’t get something from Manchester City on the weekend. They have great attitudes the both of them which gets passed on through the rest of the group.
Do you think that VAR still needs some refining and is a work in progress?
I certainly do, I think that it has not helped the game, I do not think it has enhanced it I am not saying it hasn’t helped referees some times but it has not helped the spectacle.
The decision up there [Elland Road] was when Lukasz Fabianksi came off his line very slightly and in all the penalty kicks I have seen taken in the Premier League since I don’t think there has been one other decision where a goalkeeper has been told he has come off the line, so is this another one where they are just going to say ‘oh we have changed that’ but actually deep down they have already done something about it?
Because it was incredibly harsh and to hear about the handball situation changing… I think there have been a lot of football decisions where a lot of good football people don’t understand and don’t see who is making the calls on them.
Pep Guardiola said last week ‘that the key to success in the Premier League is money’ that must mean you are a very good coach as you are punching above your weight.
Sadly I think that the money does make a difference it really does.
If money was going to make the difference then it would only be the rich who would be successful and I did not want that. I still don’t want that to be the case, we still need good football coaches and teams who are going to punch above their weight I think we still need seasons where some of the big teams don’t do so well but I do agree that I think money is making a big difference at some of the clubs.
We have got to try and do the best we can and you have to remember the club here spent a lot of money a couple of years ago and I hope in the future we spend good amounts of money, but we will try and spend it as wisely as we can and hopefully it will be on players that will be here for the long term.
Is this season showing that West Ham can be one of the powerhouses in the Premier League and in London?
I believe so. I believe that West Ham was a powerhouse in London and there is a period West Ham supporters will remember so well when West Ham were the top team in London, if not in the country at the time, so we have to aim to get back to that and I don’t see why not and why that should not be our ambition.
But if it is something that has to be done overnight and done in a quick turnaround I don’t know if anybody could do that, I don’t know if there is a manager in the world who could do that.
Because you have to build, first of all, you have to be in a position to attract good players to come so I do see if we can make European football then coming to West Ham coming to London, coming to a club with European football would be much more attractive as well so all those things have to be added.
Players want to see a stable club, a consistent club, and a club with a vision and a play going forward..
Jesse Lingard has been nominated for player of the month, it’s incredible that he has barely played for a year and is already nominated for player of the month?
I agree but Jesse has been really driven to play and he came in right away in training and he does not carry any weight, he is in good physical condition, match practice I totally agree. He is still getting there and I think he is still four or five games into it and we are still trying to get Jesse in peak condition.
It is great that he has had such an impact as the talk and speculation around players who come and go in January and to get someone in who makes a difference is not an easy thing to do.
Rule changed in Fulham – do managers and players get confused?
We do get confused as we are not sure what is going to happen. That is why it has taken all the emotion out of the game. At the moment the stadiums are a little sterile as we have no crowds.
So it has really toned [down] everything about the whole game and it is quite often quite difficult to judge what is a goal, is the linesman really going to put the flag up when he is offside and he doesn’t do for 10-15 seconds later and is it a handball or not, is there contact in the box when you give a penalty kick, or not, so we are inundated with things that we are finding it difficult to completely understand.
Transcript credit: Tom Clark/Football.London