Hammers Boss Moyes: “I Can Only Ever Say Good Things About Manchester United”
West Ham United manager David Moyes has heaped praise on his former club Manchester United as he prepares to face off with them in the Premier League this evening, declaring “I can only ever say good things about Manchester United.”
The Scot spent a season at the club as the replacement for legendary boss Sir Alex Ferguson, but struggled to adapt to life at Old Trafford, only being able to lead the club to a seventh-place league finish, their worst ever in the Premier League and was sacked without seeing the campaign out.
However, this doesn’t mean that the man who has led the Hammers to safety since replacing Slaven Bilic in November 2017, has lost any respect for the English football powerhouses, speaking in his pre-Manchester United press conference at Rush Green training ground on Thursday afternoon.
“I can only ever say good things about Manchester United because I respect the club so much and what they stand for, and just how good a football club it is. Anybody who is a manager of that football club has a real privilege,” proclaimed Moyes.
“I think we would rather be not playing them after a defeat, but the truth is we have to play Manchester United and we will do everything we can to win. We will try to play well in this game.”
The two teams meet at the London Stadium, this Thursday evening and the Irons will be looking to take advantage of Jose Mourinho’s men after the Red Devils were defeated by Brighton & Hove Albion last Friday night.
The Hammers, themselves, are brimming with confidence, having secured their Top-Flight status, after a worrying few months, by defeating Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
A deserved three points against the Foxes, was the East Londoners’ first victory in the space of four league matches and enough to take them up to 38 points, remaining 15th place, Southampton’s failure to defeat Everton later that day, confirming the club’s safety.
In the same press conference, when asked to reflect on the long road from taking over a depleted West Ham to lifting them up and securing their place amongst England’s elite for another season, the experienced gaffer was quick to thank all those that have helped him and the team, along the way.
“I have to say well done to the players. When I came in here we had nine points and it was difficult, but I’ve got to say the players have gone and done the job and got the points. I think we’ve scored quite a few goals and I’ve got to say all credit to the players.
“A lot of people questioned me coming in but I’ve got to say the job was to come in and keep the side up, and we’ve done that. But I’ve got to say that I’ve got a really good staff. I’ve got a top end staff here and they’ve been really helpful.”
The ex-Everton manager of 11 years continued, “The players know that if we can win a couple more games, then we can get ourselves higher up the league. Then we might even be thinking ‘well, what was all the worry about’?
However, despite achieving their main objective with two matches left to play, Moyes isn’t wanting the side to rest on their laurels and aims to finish the campaign as strongly as possible.
“I wouldn’t be using the word ‘relaxation’ – far from it, I will be saying that we have two good games and we know the pressure of any relegation is not there anymore, and we will try to play the best we can. “
Mathematically, the Irons could still finish as high as tenth and when facing United, will also possess the added incentive of the match falling on exactly two years to the day since their last game at their old home ground of the Boleyn Ground.
Ironically, their opponents on that night were also the Manchester club, famously coming from a goal down to beat them and boost their Europa League hopes and they will certainly be looking for a repeat of that, this time around, to commemorate Upton Park and help to end a tricky campaign on a high.
You can follow Thursday evening’s Premier League visit of Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United to the London Stadium to face David Moyes’ West Ham United, right here on West Ham Matters, as we bring you a Live Blog of the eagerly-anticipated fixture, featuring live and exclusive build-up, text commentary and reaction from the Press Box of the former Olympic Stadium, from 5:45 PM BST.