David Moyes was understandably delighted with his sides performance in the hard-fought victory over Anderlecht in Belgium.
West Ham came away with all 3 points to solidify top spot in the Europa Conference League Group B, after grabbing a late goal in the 1-0 win that ultimately was fully deserved, with the strength in depth evident with changes made proving the key factor.
It was an open contest that had both sides vying for the win, with the hosts showing they’d be no pushovers for David Moyes’ Hammers. The manager made 9 changes to the side that beat Wolves last Saturday, giving opportunities to players to make their mark on the side, with many eyes on Flynn Downes and Said Benrahma in particular.
Benrahma although a lively presence, was wasteful at times, with the biggest chance of the first half falling to him after a cut back from Jarrod Bowen, but the Algerian international couldn’t get his positioning correct and could only fire at the defence.
The big change in the proceedings came in the final 20 minutes when Moyes introduced Declan Rice, Lucas Paqueta and Gianluca Scamacca to the fray. They made a major impact immediately and with the clock ticking all 3 linked up for Scamacca to fire home a sublime effort, ensuring West Ham took a major step towards the knockout stages of the competition.
A notable performance came again from Flynn Downes, who put in an accomplished display which even drew significant praise from the manager, who was delighted with what he saw from the summer signing from Swansea.
The delighted Irons manager admitted that Downes was “probably the best player tonight” when talking to the press after the game.
“He played really, really well,” Moyes added. “He’s starting to show us a little bit more. He started a little bit slowly, but he’s really put a marker down tonight.”
Moyes is notoriously careful with his words and individual praise does not get offered by the boss lightly, so the high praise of Downes will have many wondering if he’s done enough to earn a start in the Premier League.
West Ham head into a London derby on Sunday with the visit of Fulham at the London Stadium, and the performance of Downes will certainly give something the manager to ponder ahead of the game.