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David Moyes says certain West Ham players are partly to blame for Tomas Soucek dip in form but backs him to come good
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David Moyes says certain West Ham players are partly to blame for Tomas Soucek dip in form but backs him to come good

Hammers boss David Moyes says certain West Ham players are partly to blame for Tomas Soucek’s dip in form but has backed him to come good.

If one player deserves to be above criticism at West Ham it is Soucek.

So Hammers fans – and journalists – have been treading rather carefully around the uncomfortable fact that West Ham’s big Czech midfielder has fallen below his usual high standards this season.

Earlier this season Moyes conceded that Soucek’s game was suffering as a result of his change in tactics to allow midfield partner Declan Rice the freedom to get forward more.

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Some fans have put it down to fatigue. It’s not just the fact the goals have dried up, Soucek has looked like a fish out of water at times.

But there is more to the malaise than tiredness or changes to West Ham’s approach and shape.

And Moyes has now admitted as much when asked about Soucek in his latest press conference.

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Moyes did not name names, but the Scot was clear that certain West Ham players are also partly to blame for the 26-year-old’s drop off due to a lack of quality delivery.

“Yes, I want more from him but he’s had two narrowly ruled out for offside with two VAR decisions, rebounds off the goalkeeper and he scored and they were ruled out so I think they’ve been has been really tight calls,” Moyes told the press ahead of the Brighton game when asked about Soucek.

“He had a header a few weeks ago I thought he should have scored from and he didn’t but at the moment Dec’s stepping up with the goal so that’s helped us and that’s covered us a little bit.

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David Moyes says certain West Ham players are partly to blame for Tomas Soucek dip in form but backs him to come good

“But I believe by the end of the season he will still have got to his target, we’ll still have got goals from Tom come the end of the season and I think it will settle down a little bit more.

“Our play has slightly changed as well. You know, we’ve been a little bit more hard passing and build up and Tom has been involved in that rather than just sort of making the box at times and getting on the end of things. So we’ve got to try and benefit from both.

“We’ve got to try and get him involved in the build up but also got to try and get him on the end of crosses which is not always the case. The message I’ve got out there is: I don’t know if our deliveries in the box haven’t been as good as they should be from wider areas. I’m looking for better quality in the crosses. To pick people out in the box.

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“I don’t disagree (that he has looked tired) you know, he may just may just be down a little bit, a notch, but this is a boy who’s played in the Euros or plays every game for the Czech Republic.

“He plays every game for us, we rest him when we can and he’s a boy who I’ve told you, they have come in, the two Czech boys have come in with unbelievable appetite and energy and excitement. I’ve seen bits of Tom where he’s just been a bit ponderous in bits of his play. But overall he’s such an asset to us.

“The work he does, the ground he covers around the pitch, it is amazing what he does, it really is. And a lot of that goes unseen. But what did get noticed was his goals and I can see the reason why it’s getting picked out.”

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Soucek is a good defensive midfielder. But his natural game is to be a box-to-box man.

He picks up the ball, feeds it wide or forward and then continues his runs – often perfectly timed – to get up and support the attacks.

He was West Ham’s Hammer of the Year last season for a reason. He was the team’s most important and influential player.

As a fan if you couldn’t see that for yourself the stats were there to prove it.

He set a new top flight record for aerial duels won, a new top flight record for distance covered.

Photo by James Williamson AMA Getty Images

Soucek stopped goodness knows how many goals with defensive headers and blocks, scored 10 Premier League goals and laid on one assist.

Soucek was in the top 10 Premier League players statistically last season. Only Dimitri Payet, Scott Parker and Paolo Di Canio have managed that in West Ham’s Premier League history.

The Czech man mountain looked a threat at every single set piece and in almost every attack last season.

This season Soucek looks castrated.

Moyes has been honest in his analysis of why that is. Let’s hope the Scot and Soucek can work together with the rest of the West Ham team to fix it.

More West Ham news:

David Moyes drops big West Ham selection hint for Brighton.

Insider says West Ham star touch and go as calls grow to drop duo.

Marco van Basten agrees with West Ham fans who doubted striker.

Ornstein makes astonishing claim about ex West Ham striker’s wages.

Irvine backs new West Ham duo to come good like Moyes’s top boy.