David Moyes has stated that he does not believe West Ham have what it takes to get top six this season.
When Moyes was brought back in as West Ham manager many were underwhelmed and even a little bit confused at the appointment. However, Moyes’ magic quickly got to work and just the season after he saved them from relegation, he got the club into the Europa League group stages for the very first time.
Since then, he’s led the Hammers to a further two seasons of European football, not to mention their first piece of silverware since 1980.
Throughout his tenure, the Scotsman has been vocal about his ambitions for this side, as well as the level he wants them to be at, but in a bizarre turn-up for the books he has suddenly changed his tune.
“I don’t know if we can [get top six],” he confessed ahead of his side’s clash with Fulham, despite the Hammers being just three points off the likely fifth Champions League spot. “If I’m being realistic a top-six finish for us is too much. The level of the teams like Newcastle and Villa, with their resources. Brighton, who might be having a stickier time being in Europe, as well.”
“But there are a bundle of teams amongst it. and playing so well and because of that it will be really tough,” he continued. “Whether we can hang on their shirt tails, let’s see where we can go”
“We’ve steadily gone along. I can only try to win the games and do what we’re doing. We’ve qualified for Europe after Christmas time, we’re in a League Cup quarter-final.”
While Moyes trying to keep a lid on expectations is not completely unusual, he is usually the first person to be pushing the players on to go up a level, so why the sudden change? Well, despite how it might seem, it’s highly unlikely this is far from what he actually thinks.
It is crucial to remember that what is said to the media is certainly different from what is being said behind closed doors. He’s simply trying to take the pressure off of the players.
This is a common but effective tactic used by lord of managers – Pep does it all the time. For example, when Manchester City had seemingly fallen behind in the title race last season it was “not possible” for them to win the league when speaking to the media, but if you ask the City players if he had the same message to them, it would be a very different story.
If Moyes’ comments have made you annoyed and think that he lacks ambition, good. That is exactly what he wants. The idea of coming out and saying something like this is to; firstly take the attention off the players so they can go about their business and secondly create an underdog situation. After all, teams underestimating West Ham can only work in their favour.
Unfortunately, it won’t do anything to improve Moyes’ popularity amongst West Ham fans, but that’s what he needs. In a job where so much talk is around the performance, the only thing that matters is the result and if he has to exchange some popularity in the short term to succeed in the long term, then I’m sure he won’t lose any sleep over it.