Julen Lopetegui was full of confidence as he spoke to the media as West Ham manager for the first time yesterday.


The Spaniard was announced as Hammers manager at the end of May; however, he didn’t officially start work until 1st July, as David Moyes’ contract in East London didn’t expire until 30th June.

Technical director Tim Steidten joined Lopetegui as they were tasked with questions from broadcasters and journalists in a press conference that lasted just over twenty minutes.


Why West Ham United?

Lopetegui said: “This is where I want to be. This is a big Club with huge potential – if you look at the pitch, the stadium and the fans, you can see we have a great environment. In terms of the squad, I think we have a great platform to go out and make a big noise.

I remember coming to play West Ham when I was in charge at Sevilla [in 2022] and suffering in the environment. I remember saying then that I’d like to come back here as the team’s coach, because I thought it was a very special atmosphere. Now that has happened, and I want to take advantage of those strengths and help take the Club to the next step.

After my first experience in England [with Wolverhampton Wanderers in 2022/23], I always said I wanted to continue in the Premier League. I think the Premier League is the best competition in the world, and it’s where all players and coaches want to be. It’s very demanding, but there’s a great rhythm and culture. I have stayed in England for a long time and watched a lot of matches, so hopefully I’ve learnt even more about the game over here.”


Lopetegui’s aims for the season

“It’s important we don’t put limits on our mind at this moment and set out too many specific targets. I always say, ‘you can dream, but you have to work very hard to achieve your dreams’, and that is what we’re going to do.

My aim is to go into each match believing we can win it – this is my way of working. We know it’s impossible to win every game, of course, but always having that ambition is important. We’re going to try to put these kinds of demands into the minds of the players and convince them we’re here to make a big noise in the Premier League.

It’s going to be a long season, and there will be ups and downs, but we’ll try to use those bad moments as a platform to build again. I can’t wait to get going, and I am already looking forward to that first game against Aston Villa on 17 August.”


What style of play should fans expect?

 “We believe in a style whereby we have the initiative to be the aggressive team with the ball, and that is what we’ll try to do, but we have to understand there are a lot of different parts to a match. I like attacking football, but I also like counter-attacking football, and we can’t rule out playing in any way to win a game.

I want my team to understand each moment on the pitch and to work out the right answers, in attack and defence. One of the things I love about football is that it is impossible to be perfect all the time, and there’s always room for improvement. There are a lot of ways to play football, and we have to choose our way.”


What players is Lopetegui keen to work with?

“We know that Edson Álvarez has picked up an injury while he’s been away with Mexico, and he will be a miss. With Lucas [Paquetá], we know he and his family have suffered with things recently, but we are his family and we’re looking forward to having him back on the pitch playing with us.

We’re working hard to try and improve the squad, but the first thing to do is highlight the strong platform we already have. We have to try and take advantage of pre-season and be as ready as we can be for when the new campaign starts.”