We lost our identity, says Antonio

  • by Staff Writer
  • Thursday, 1st June 2023

Michail Antonio says West Ham's poor domestic form can be attributed to David Moyes' insistence on the team changing its style.

The 33-year-old striker, speaking in a controversial interview with the Filthy Fellas podcast was asked by the panel why West Ham had spent the entire season in the lower half of the Premier League table having finished sixth and seventh respectively in the previous two campaigns.

And according to Antonio, this was the direct result of the manager attempting to change the team's tactical approach to a more progressive outlook.

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"It was difficult this year because in the last two years we'd been close to the top four and we just never achieved it," he said. "Because we were so close to it, the gaffer changed how he wanted to play. He wanted to switch it up so hopefully we could get into the Champions League places.

"We made some quality signings; [Lucas] Paqueta, Gianluca [Scamacca], so we could break through the thirds and try and work it that way so we could play more like a 'top six' team. But it just didn't work out for us.

"We kept pushing and kept trying to do it, even though we saw it wasn't working from November, December time. Everybody could see we weren't doing it but we wanted to see it out. We wanted to tray and get that philosophy going so next season we can work on it and build off it.

"But it got to the stage where we were like 'no, we're getting ourselves in trouble' and so it was back to Plan A. That's how we managed to drag ourselves out of it."

However Antonio refuted a suggestion that playing in European competition had also taken its toll on the team's league form. "No, because we were doing that in the last two years anyway," he responded, when asked if he felt playing in the Conference League was a factor.

"We got to the semi finals last year and still finished seventh in the league - and nearly made the Champions League. We can't blame Europe for it because we'd been doing it. One thing we can blame it on is trying to change who we were; we lost our identity."

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