We got it right tactically, claims Moyes

  • by Staff Writer
  • Saturday, 4th February 2023

David Moyes was delighted with his team's performance at St James Park as they came from behind to secure a point against Newcastle United.

Despite falling behind as early as the second minute - and that after Newcastle had an effort disallowed with just 39 seconds on the clock - the Hammers rallied before equalising through Brazilian midfielder Lucas Paqueta, scoring only his second goal for the club.

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And that effort ultimately proved to be enough to earn a share of the spoils as the Hammers extended their decent start to 2023, much to the delight of the manager - who was somewhat disappointed not to secure what would've bene a huge away win.

"It could have been all three points," said Moyes, speaking during his post-match press conference. "We had to defend well in the second half on some occasions but I’ll tell you what, the team played well today.

"We played really well in the first half, except for the first minute. We did a good job, we put them under pressure, we passed the ball much better than we’ve been passing it for a while, we didn’t turn the ball over as often, we retained possession when we got it into the forwards and the boys in the middle of the park got about the job and helped.

"So overall, I’m really pleased. It’s probably one of our best performances this season because we had to show a bit of fight and a bit of spirit. We had to show that we didn’t buckle after we went a goal down and also I was really pleased with how we played with the ball. We didn’t panic when we went a goal down, took some passes and made it, so there were lots and lots of good things from the from the players today."

And the boss also praised the player's courage and integrity as they secured the point that moved them back up to 16th in the table and one point further away from the relegation zone.

"We showed great character," insisted Moyes. "I’ve always said that I think we have it in abundance in the team, but sometimes it can go against you.

"We got away with the first one, albeit the assistant surely has to see it’s out and he’s got to disappointed he hasn’t seen it. But anyway, we get it [ruled out] with VAR, so then to be caught immediately you couldn’t get worse.

"But I’ve said to the players we looked like we were more ready today. We wanted to go and have a game where we were looking forward to the challenge and only the first minute we could have put ourselves in big trouble. It showed great character, we bounced back from it, took it on the chin and went again."

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It was always going to be a tough game against a team still beaten only once in the League this season - and Moyes believes he and his staff got their team selection and match plan spot on throughout.

"Tactically today we had to try and get something right against them because they’ve been blowing teams away," he mused. "We’ve been winning a little bit with the system we’ve been playing so we had to manufacture it a little bit to work on more when we were out of possession.

"The biggest thing out there was our energy. They are a big energy team here and the crowd do incredibly well to help raise their levels. If ever there was a story about what the crowd do to raise the energy levels of the players, it’s here at the moment where it looks as if they’re all running on a couple of miles extra on the back of the energy they are getting from the support.

"So it was a hard place to come, but our players have done it. We got a bit tired and we’ve got a couple of niggly injuries from today’s game, but overall they’ve done a good job."

Meanwhile Moyes - who was booked by referee Peter Bankes in added-on time after questioning how long the official had played - was delighted to see West Ham score from a set piece - such a major strength of the team in the last two seasons but something that had eluded them this term.

"I was nearly going to run around the pitch that we got a goal from a set piece, it was that good," he joked. "We've just not been clinical from them and we’ve not been as good.

"But we did what we did to try to find a way and we got in a position and I thought his [Paqueta's] composure when the ball came through to him [was superb] and he didn’t panic or slash at the ball. I’ve not seen it again, but it looked like quite a composed finish at the back post.

"We’re so desperate to get back to form," he continued. "We are not enjoying being where we are. We’re not enjoying the way we have not played as well as we’d liked, but today, if I was a supporter, I would have enjoyed the way my team played today."

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