West Ham United manager David Moyes has stayed calm about the excellent form of Austrian attacker Marko Arnautovic and his team’s hopes of Premier League survival after Saturday’s crucial victory over Mark Hughes’ Southampton at London Stadium.
Arnautovic netted twice as the Hammers downed the Saints in East London and here is what Moyes had to say about his showing in his post-match press conference, which MooreThanJustAClub were fortunate enough to be in.
“I just wanted him to get a hat-trick if he could that was what I was saying, get the third goal, keep at it, get the third goal you know, make sure you don’t do anything, just do your job.
“To be fair the game’s not about Marko, the game was about the team and it wasn’t the Marko Arnautovic show, it was how well the team had done you know.”
The former Stoke City man’s strikes both came in the first period, along with Joao Mario’s opener, the first of them being a neat finish at the second attempt from Mario’s cross and the second, a stunning volley from an Arthur Masuaku delivery.
The club-record signing, who arrived in Stratford last summer, in doing so, inflated his total for the season to nine goals, thus overtaking Javier Hernandez to become the club’s top-scorer this campaign.
Furthermore, he has now notched a remarkable five strikes in three matches domestically, having scored three times for Austria in friendlies against Slovenia and Luxembourg over the International break.
All of his strikes in Claret & Blue have been netted since the start of December, shortly after Moyes took the helm from Slaven Bilic in early November, but what has his manager made of his contribution to the team so far?
“Marko’s done great for us since I’ve been here, since I’ve arrived I think he’s been outstanding and the way he’s played and what not, I was raging when he missed the first chance because you think oh what a chance, but he went on to get another two so good on him.”
Things could have perhaps been even better for Arnautovic had he managed to convert the aforementioned chance just before he grabbed his first, though a first hat-trick in English football wasn’t to be.
Moyes then went on to discuss what the Irons’ first three points for almost two months means to their chances of beating the drop to the Sky Bet Championship, reflecting on his side’s recent form and conveying the tight nature of the bottom half.
“I think, unfortunately, we’re either very good or not at all and I think what I need to do is try and bring a bit of consistency to the standard at West Ham, and what I mean by that as well is I think when the performances drop, I need to find a way where it’s not dropping as low as it has on a couple of occasions,” proclaimed the former Manchester United boss.
“But I think you’ve seen in the Premier League, because of the way that the bottom 10 teams, if you go behind on one of the games everybody’s chasing the game to try and get back in it.
“Ultimately, you’re ending up losing two or three nil quite often, I’ve seen it in quite a few of the games with teams at the bottom half because the points are so important, the first goal’s massive for all the teams.”
A mere nine points separate Southampton in 18th and AFC Bournemouth in tenth position and anyone caught in that ruck of teams, in theory, is at risk of finishing in the bottom three.
Before kick-off on Saturday, the East Londoners were precariously placed in 17th, just a point above their opponents a single position below, but the detrimental triumph helped to improve their outlook drastically.
With seven matches left to play, Moyes’ men are now five points clear of the dreaded drop zone and up to 14th place, looking ahead of them at mid-table rather than behind them at grave danger.
However, gaffer Moyes knows that his team still have some tricky tests ahead of them, including playing four of the league’s top six outfits and played down relegation safety being all but secured., praising the support of the fans, after recent ugly scenes, in the process.
“We won’t get carried away with it because it doesn’t get us safe but I think there would be probably a different press conference here if we hadn’t, if we dropped onto the bottom three tonight, but no we moved up and we’ve got big games to come and I think if the stadium stays as it was today it will give us a great chance.”
Next up for the outfit from East London in the Top-Flight will be a tricky trip to Stamford Bridge to face an under-pressure Chelsea under Antonio Conte, that fixture will be played out on Sunday afternoon at 4:30 PM BST, catch all the build-up and reaction right here on MooreThanJustAClub.