It's been a long and frustrating fortnight for West Ham United manager David Moyes.With West Ham losing their last Premier League outing in disappointing fashion against Everton at Goodison Park - a result that left United in the division's bottom three - the boss has had plenty of time to examine just where his team have been going wrong
And having returned to the training ground this week with his squad, many of whom were away on international duty last weekend, Moyes is under no illusion that he has little time left to right the many mistakes which have led to the Hammers featuring at the wrong end of the season.
The first opportunity to do so comes on Saturday with the visit of the equally-underperforming Wolves, who will be boosted by the signing of former Chelsea striker Diego Costa who joined the Midlanders on a free transfer recently.
And while it's perhaps a little early to take about 'must win' games, Moyes knows that expectations are high and that the very least his team need to produce is a good performance against Bruno Lage's side, who go into the game two points and just one place above the Hammers.
"We want to win the games," began Moyes, speaking during his pre-match press conference.
"I think there are a lot of things which we can do much better and we are working to do that, but I also think there are a lot of things we have done pretty well. Maybe we've not quite got the rewards our efforts deserved.
"Ultimately, there’s a lot of things that we think we are doing quite well - and we want to try and continue that way.
"We’ve got three games coming up at home and we’ve got one away, in Europe. We’re looking forward to getting back to the London Stadium as we missed a game against Newcastle.
"I think we are ready, I think we are in good spirits and I think the players are in good form. So hopefully we will be ready to go."
Part of the pressure heaped upon Moyes in recent days and weeks is partly the result of the fantastic form the club have been enjoying for the past season or two. So does the manager feel that he is perhaps a victim of his own success?
"If you went back a couple of years and said West Ham would go so far up the table, I think you would have said that’s really good and we're probably punching above our weight," he mused.
"Since we’ve been there, I actually feel as if we are quite comfortable here. Of course we want to [continue to] challenge and stay there, sp the work we are doing is to maintain that position.
"Obviously we haven't got off to as good a start as we'd have wanted, but there’s also been reasons behind that. We’ve played more games than any other Premier League team this season and I think in five of those games, we’ve only had two days' recovery.
"Additionally we started the season with only one fit centre-back and we’re also trying to integrate seven or eight new players. All of those things I hope would give me a decent reason [for our poor form[. But ultimately, I am judged on results - and I know that the results have got to get better."
And how difficult had it been to integrate those signings, he was asked? "We were always going to make a change, this was always going to be a new season for us," he replied.
"I remember when I came in, I was talking about how we are growing the club - and we are. We're continuing to grow the club but now and again, you have to break things to try and grow it.
"We feel at the moment that we’ve had to break it a little bit, but we've still got a big chunk of the players here who have been involved over the last couple of years and played ever so well. Now we are integrating other players into that as well."
One of the key reasons for West Ham's lowly position has been the lack of goals scored, despite bringing in players such as Maxwel Cornet, Lucas Paqueta and Gianluca Scamacca during the summer. And that, says Moyes, is something that has to change soon.
"Every football manager I know works continuously on finishing, scoring goals, taking your chances, all of the actions that get you goals," he said. "We're no different to the rest and we are continuing to work as we have always done.
"We could do with some of our top goal scorers coming up with some more goals - and let’s be fair, we weren’t exactly prolific from January onwards last year.
"We got goals, we got important goals; Jarrod Bowen stepped up greatly last year when maybe Mick [Antonio] hadn’t scored as many. We need that to happen again, we need people to step up and get us goals."
One of the new signings still being integrated into the squad is the aforementioned Scamacca, whose introduction was interrupted by a bout of illness that kept him on the sidelines for a few weeks.
But Moyes believes the Italian international is ready to play a greater role in the club's matches having returned to full fitness and having had the benefit of a fortnight away with his international team mates.
"Everybody forgets he had a really bad virus for two or three weeks which was the reason why he hadn’t played him," confirmed the boss. "It wasn’t that we just weren’t playing him.
"We’ve had to bring him back from that and sometimes, those things go amiss. We think a lot of him, we really like him and he’s coming on well. I’m sure as long as he stays fit and healthy, we will see a lot more of him."
One fellow summer arrival still yet to taste a minute of competitive first team football is Moroccan international Nayef Aguerd. And Moyes admitted that he is still some weeks away from having the opportunity to make his debut.
"Aguerd is doing a little bit on the grass - nowhere near the level of training [of the rest of the squad] - but at least he’s sort of getting back outside a little bit more" he revealed.
And as for other injury concerns ahead of the weekend? "Ben Johnson has had a week and a half of training so he is closing in on fitness," he said. "I think that is it about them all really. Most of the players returning from international duty are okay."
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