How satisfied are you with tonight?
I’m really pleased with the effort the players are putting in. With the result, we are pushing on and we knew this was a big result for us tonight as well. I can’t say enough for the players, they have done a great job. We can play better and I think there is another level for the players to go to and my aim is to get them there by the end of the season and get them really up at the top level. It was a really good result tonight, very few teams score three against Sheffield United and I think that has been the case for most of the season.
How pleased are you with Jesse Lingard’s performance and how he has fitted in?
I thought some of Jesse’s stuff tonight was great. He gave us a great outlet, there were one of two times when he could have released the ball a little bit quicker and we could have had more opportunities but he has definitely helped us. We needed a few more attacking aspects to your game and he was good. Even Manuel Lanzini tonight helped us as well, and Jarrod Bowen did a great job as a centre-forward tonight.
You have more points now than at the end of last season:
What gave me a little bit of hope was the form we showed after lockdown and the commitment and obviously, we made a couple of good signings as well. All those things have worked really well for us but the most important thing is that the players kicked on. we’ve got a really good spirit going on and results help that greatly and long may that continue.
What are the chances of Michail Antonio being available at the weekend?
Well, it’s good that tonight we are not drawing attention to Micky Antonio because we scored three goals and I thought Jarrod, Jesse, and Manu did a really good job in causing problems in different ways tonight. But Micky is really important to us and we hope to get him back. It was a big game for us and it wasn’t a risk to play him but we knew that he is in a position where something could happen and I don’t want to lose him for a long period. I hope that he’ll be fine for Sunday but I have no guarantee at this moment in time that that is the case.
Well, I think the biggest compliment if you were giving West Ham any is how well the boys have come in. The boys who have come off the bench and helped us win games or turn games, they have gone about their job really well. Ryan Fredericks has come in and played really well in a couple of games recently as well when he has had to come on. I think it was a big night for Issa, I think he started a little bit ropey but as it went on he got better and grew into the game. Ben has played a few games and done well and he played very well at Manchester United when he came on the other night, and it’s not really his rightful position but when we lost Arthur [Masuaku] we needed to try and find ways if we choose to play five at the back of how to do it and he has given us a few options with being able to do that job.
It was a really good finish. We’ve not had many penalties but I knew if Mark Noble wasn’t on the pitch then Declan would be the one who would take it and thankfully he tucked it away.
On the penalty, Deland said he had a conversation with Lingard on the pitch and said you’d have battered him if didn’t take it is that right?
That’s right because we want to be clear, we want the organisation to be clear and for them to know. If Mark Noble is on the pitch then he takes the penalty he has done so for many years here and has a great record with them so I also see it as a wee bit of a step up for Declan. It’s his first goal, taking responsibility, taking that ownership and making sure he does the job. Next game we might try somebody different but this game it was certainly Declan.
If you come out the next two games in this position [fourth] is it then you say right we can have a run at this [European qualification]?
Well, it was Pearcey [Stuart Perace] who mentioned to be before the game that we have five games before the first of April. Obviously, we are still in February so at the end of those five games if we get into the last month or two of the season then it might hot up but we can’t really be talking this way. It nearly feels a bit uneasy. I don’t want to be negative in any way but the team around us are super teams, so let’s be fair we are up against some top top talent, top teams and we are going to have to play incredibly well to be there. The good thing is I think we have got another gear or two from what we even showed tonight. Obviously, we had to juggle the team around a little bit tonight and it was a little bit of something new tonight which we had to try and find a solution to win and we got the win with it tonight.
I think Jesse’s ability has always been there, it was only a year or so ago that he was an England international. Overall he is a talented football player and we knew he could give us something different in the final third to add competition. There was a period when we weren’t quite creative enough and I thought Jesse could give us a little bit of that. In the couple of games he has played he has done very well and hopefully the more he plays, the more he gets used to us, the more we get used to him he continues to improve.
Is the confidence in the team pleasing for you and everyone wanting to score?
It is because we had a couple of really good shots from distance and I had mentioned to the players I thought we had to get more shot away and more on target and make more regular opportunities and to be fair we did that. I have to say Sheffield United had opportunities as well, they played well and I think their recent form has shown why they have been getting some results. They had some really good bits of play tonight which caused us problems.
Six assists from Aaron Cresswell, what do you put that down to?
In a strange well when he plays as a left-sided centre-back in a three his assist numbers go up much more. We gave him a lot of stick last season so to see his improvement and quality and his deliveries have been very good from set-pieces is good to see. Overall he has played very well for us, he has had a couple of games when he has been up and down but overall he has been very very good.
Does this win show you don’t have to be reliant on Michail Antonio for goals?
Part of the job was finding ways of winning games and we won’t always come up with answers. As you know we have been looking around with what we can do. Jarrod Bowen played as a centre-forward for a little bit with Hull City and has scored some goals throughout his career. I thought Jarrod did a great job tonight as a forward player. It gives us other options and might have given Jarrod a little freshen up as well. the history recently here is that any wingers who end up as a centre-forward become very good so who knows if the same thing can happen with Jarrod.
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