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2020-2021-Season

#PL Stories – #DavidMoyes reveals secret to West Ham’s success is players step up when someone gets injured #WHUFC

David Moyes

Do you have a timeframe for Angelo Ogbonna’s injury and how much of a blow is his injury?

It is a big blow because he has done really well for us, he has been magnificent in the games he has played and his leadership has been really important to us as well. I’ve not got a time frame on it and I am not sure if I would want to put one on it either even if I had one because we want to try and get him back quickly. My understanding is he doesn’t need surgery so that is a good thing. He is getting checked by the specialist and hopefully, we might know a bit more in the next few days.

Issa is fine, and he was fine immediately after and we travelled back and he did some training so I have no problem with Issa as far as I am concerned. What football has done is try to find a short-term solution to a problem that we are going to have to look at a lot more deeply to see what we can do. I think football has tried to take the right action. My medical team took the right action the other night and we are trying to do the right thing. Maybe [brain injury charity] Headway have other reasons and they will know their reasons for why they should be different but at the moment I think the Premier League and the medical teams are trying to carry it out the best they can.

Is this a good opportunity for Diop to step up?

It certainly is. We want Issa to be fit and well. He picked up COVID around the same time as myself and other people came into the team and made it hard for him. But he is someone who I like and we value so I am hoping he can step up.

How is Michail Antonio doing?

He is doing well, he has done a little bit on the grass and we are trying to get him back quickly. Hopefully, he will be very close for the weekend.

How about Andriy Yarmolenko, Fabian Balbuena and Jarrod Bowen?

Yarmolenko has a little bit of a knee injury which we are going to assess and make sure we know exactly what that is. Fabian Balbuena picked up a little bit of a calf strain in the warm-up which meant we weren’t able to use him during the game. Jarrod was fine, we just had to make a tactical change at the time because of losing Issa so we changed things around but Jarrod is fine.

Do you expect Balbuena to be fine for Monday?

I’m not sure at the moment.

With looking at the European places is it now a concern with players picking up injuries?

We have picked up very few injuries through the season. We lost Arthur [Masuaku] and had Micky [Antonio] out for a month or two. But everybody who has come into the team has done very well for us, whoever has come in has been positive in the main so I am looking for more of the same. It gives people the chance to step up. The people who do come into the team will be coming into a good side and into a team that has been playing very well this season.

 Sheffield United have struggled this season but the form has recently improved. They are not going to be an easy team to play, are they?

I don’t think they have been an easy team for anybody to play against. Certainly, for the couple of years, they have been in the Premier League. But also I don’t think there is ever an easy game in the league, however, you play. We see Sheffield United as a tough game, they have their own reasons for trying to pick up points but we have got ours as well. We want to try to keep pushing on.

What can you take from the Fulham game into the Sheffield United one?

I didn’t think we played particularly well against Fulham but I think that has got a lot to do with Fulham and maybe similar with Sheffield United they are fighting for points. I was in that situation last season where every game you are desperate for points to continue to give you hope. We didn’t play well on the night [against Fulham] there are a few factors for that but overall we go into the game in good form. Our recent game against Aston Villa, for example, we played well and in truth, our form since the start of 2021 has been excellent. If we can stay on that level I’ll be more than happy.

West Ham have scored the most set-piece goals this season, is that something you look at a lot in training?

No, I don’t really work too much on it at all. It comes from having good deliverers and players wanting to stick their head on the ball. The same as every team we try to score from every opportunity we get but I don’t think we go over the top on working on set-pieces, far from it.

How was Jesse Lingard been settling in?

I think Jesse has been settling in very well, especially to score two in his first game at Villa. We didn’t have a great team performance against Fulham which he was involved in. But he has had a little bit of rest and a chance to recover because he hasn’t had many minutes as far as starting games go so he has a little bit of room to get a week’s recovery between games. We’ll have Jesse back in and around the squad which will give us a boost.

With just six points between yourself and second is there a sense you are in the thick of it now with 13 games to go?

I’ve been using the words for a few weeks now ‘can we hang on in there’ and I still think that. If we can be in this position when we get down to single figure games then you start looking a bit closer and thinking ‘hey we’ll take it game by game’ You do that anyway, but you also have a vision to see where you can be. We are in a period of a tough run of games which we had at the start of the season which turned out to be fruitful for us and we got some good results and points. So if we can come out of this period with a similar points total to what we did then, then we will be in a really good position. I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t, the games are hard and we’ll have to work hard but I think maybe others are getting a bit more aware of West Ham and what we are doing than they were right at the start of the season.

Are Sheffield United a different team now to the one you played at Bramall Lane?

I believe they will have taken confidence from the result at Old Trafford and they went to Manchester City and played very well and were unlucky to lose by a goal. They are a side that doesn’t concede too many goals, they are always in and around the game. They have a run in the cup going at the moment as well so I think they were always a difficult challenge but I think at the present time they are a more difficult challenge because they know every game they lose now will make it incredibly difficult for them. But every point they pick up will give them more hope, so we have got to do a job. We have done a job recently against similar teams so we have to make sure we do a professional job and pick up three points.

How important is the relationship with your backroom team in regard to making in game decisions?

It’s really important nowadays because there are so many important decisions to be made. I sit Alan [Irvine] in the stands so he can give me feedback from there because when you are at touchline level it can be difficult to see the length of the pitch and things like that. So I have people around me who can give me feedback and see incidents through the camera, was it a penalty? Was it not a penalty? We’re continually trying to work as a team to get the best information and solutions. A lot of it though I try to keep to myself, it might not look it but emotionally where I don’t get too wound up with anything, it might not look it but I certainly try and take things quite calmly but I am fortunate that I have good people around me who make things a lot easier.

Going back to Issa Diop, what is the process for a concussion?

I am not a medical man so I couldn’t tell you all the answers. I can only tell that he came back we had someone assess him and he had to go through the tests which are medical tests. And he has come through all the tests fine. It was a tough decision for the medical team because we were short of players, but they thought it was the right thing to do at the time. He had a bump on his head, a bit of an egg in his head, but it was interesting that [Anthony] Martial played on and we took Issa Diop off. From that point of view, we thought we carried out and did the things that were correct for our player.

Can you understand why some people are saying you can’t allow players to carry on because you don’t know what damage is done in terms of concussion?

Again, I am not a medical man. What I would say is our medical team chose to take him off at half-time. He didn’t have concussion and he doesn’t have concussion. The tests he has done to prove that have all come back clear so it was a big decision they took but I am sure not every head knock we have should lead to concussion or lead to a big discussion about it. I think it is a little bit in fashion which is why everybody is bringing it to our attention but from what I have seen our medical team has dealt with it well.

English Premier League fan since 1992. Travel enthusiast, sports buff and blog writer with deep interest in watching sports - English premier league, American Football, Basketball, Tennis, Cricket.. you name it.. Firm believer in giving back to the community which gives you happiness and identity. My inspiration - “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” – Mother Teresa

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