Third in the table for the international break in your wildest dreams did you think you’d be up in third at this stage of the season November international break?
No, probably not. I was a bit disappointed after the start of the season we had a chance to go further up before the Brentford game. And this time a month ago we lose a goal in the last minute which we felt that we didn’t deserved but it happens so I’m pleased about that. I am pleased we are there we are there on merit, I think we’re doing a lot of good things. You can see the quality of the players what they are giving and the attitude which helps greatly.
What changed in the second half?
We actually tried to change a little bit in the first half hoping to give ourselves more chance of having more of the ball in truth it did not work as well as we had hoped it would have. But that’s all down to Liverpool and their ability to change. Whatever you do Liverpool will change and they will find space to play and if you’re trying to fill a space they will find another space, and it gives you more problems I thought the first half we didn’t play that well, but you’ve also got to remember that we’re coming back from a game on Thursday night which you know, in history that competition that would normally have been, not a recipe for a disaster but [tough] I always think that there is a chance that you can get off to a slow start [after Europe]. I’m not necessarily saying we were a slow start. I just think that Liverpool were so good and caused us more problems but we did tweak it at halftime. We alter Pablo’s position a little bit and I thought the boys played really well in the second half and scored good goals and maybe a bit unlucky not to score more.
The energy in the performance lifted the stadium, on days like this you must feel as if you’re a match for anyone here?
I want us to challenge whichever teams are in the top four I have laid that down to the players. I want to challenge those teams I don’t know who they’re going to be. I hope one of them could be us but at the moment others have been there before us. So we need to try and push and I thought today was a challenge. Liverpool have been in such good form they have been so good and they were so good today Liverpool played some great stuff, but we’ve got a bit of resilience, we dig in. We may not always have the ball in some of the games we’ve been very good on the ball but not quite as good today so we’ve decided to use counter-attacking and scoring from corner kicks. So it’s not a bad recipe if we’re do not have enough off the ball.
Some terrific individual performances, but I did think that Fornals and Bowen were great, weren’t they? I mean, the energy they show, you’ve got a busy schedule at the moment that says a lot about their desire as well as.
Probably the biggest thing is this has been a really busy workload for any club. If you look at the run of games we’ve had Man City in the cup, we had to go to Genk, Aston Villa then you play Liverpool at home. It’s an incredible run of games for us. While we are still growing of how we’re gonna become a better team and how we can withstand all the games. We just have to hope that we don’t pick up too many injuries but what I will say is all of the players who have come into the team have done so well in the games. So that gives me a lot of confidence that putting them in and hopefully it’ll continue.
Did you think Mo Salah went down a bit easily for the free-kick and Liverpool are very unhappy about Angelo Ogbonna’s jump for the first goal. What was your perspective on that one?
Well, it’s gonna sound poor when I give you my answer I’ve not seen them back yet. I’ve not seen the goal back. So I couldn’t tell you if there was a foul on the goalie. I think this season referees have decided that we’re not going to give the goalkeepers a completely easy ride here and it’s making the game so much better. Just like them not giving easy free kicks even though I actually thought the Salah one looked a pretty soft free-kick. And I think the biggest thing is last year we gave away a penalty kick which I think Arthur [Masuaku] gave away at Anfield which was an incredibly soft penalty kick. But you can’t take away the quality of the free-kick which Trent Alexander-Arnold scored when we gave him that opportunity.
West Ham have strengths in counter attacking and defensive organisation and set pieces. Was that the perfect match for you?
I agree, and actually today I think aspect we’ve improved most on is ball retention attention and possession of play but we weren’t able to do as much because they’re such a good team. But the other aspects which we showed so much last year, like set-pieces, like counter-attack were on show today were when we had an opportunity to do so. So great credit to the players they are the ones that have to do it but playing against this level of opposition is always going to test us. It would have been hard to beat Liverpool, whatever way we play them but today we’ve got a result that way.
What do you think about the performance of Said Benrahma?
He’s beginning to improve again. I thought he started the season very well he had a few games where he dipped down. I thought he played well in midweek and he was tired today by about 70 minutes. I was trying to keep him on as long as possible but I think his football is becoming much better. He is becoming a better team player. He works incredibly hard for the team which is great and I just think the final moments I thought he did the right thing when he laid the chance back to Jarrod Bowen in the first half which made a good chacne at the goal. I thought he made the right decision there. What can we do better? Probably on our counterattacks if we made the right choices or the right passes maybe a little better maybe we would have had some more goals and some more efforts on goal
What do you think is the difference is this season to last season? When you take on Man City and Liverpool now it seems like you’re going in with a lot more confidence than you were last year.
I think we’re playing better. I think we’ve stepped up again. I really do. I said to the players there was far more to come and I still believe there is. There are bits of the game where we are learning but we have lots of really good boys who are willing to take it on board and when we are not playing so well we have to try and grind out results and pick things up but at the moment we’ve been playing really good football and it’s big credit to the players.
Do you think the biggest compliment to your side right now is that teams probably dread facing West Ham at the minute?
I am not sure if they dread facing West Ham. I want us to be competitive and I would hope before now they are saying West Ham is a tough game. I look at every team Premier League and see tough opposition, whoever it may be, they’ll have some strengths and some weaknesses. But today’s opposition have very, very few weaknesses and arguably the best player in the world. They’ve got forward players who are so good , they have a centre-half who is probably in the top one or two in the world as well. So we knew how tough the game was going to be. So again, I want to really do is give the players the deserved credit for the result today.
How is Angelo Ogbonna?
We had a call that it would take probably 10 minutes to stitch him up and I don’t think you can play with 10 men against Liverpool and especially not in the first half so I made the call quickly and he had taken knock just before that as well. The game was a bit stop-start in the first half, but it probably suited us because we hadn’t really found any rhythm and part of that was a substitution of Angelo as well.
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