David Moyes on West Ham's Champions League hopes: "I was disappointed when we dropped out of the top four. I'm not going to say we're going to finish in it, but why can we not hang in there and see what we can do?"
Tuesday 9 March 2021 09:31, UK
David Moyes says West Ham can still make a good season even better and "hang in" to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in history.
West Ham moved from seventh to fifth, and within two points of fourth-placed Chelsea with a 2-0 win over Leeds on Monday Night Football.
Moyes' team still have a game in hand over Thomas Tuchel's side and have their destiny within their own hands as they aim to become the first West Ham squad to finish in the top four since 1986.
The West Ham manager told Sky Sports: "We are doing really well at the moment. We are having a good season, but we could have a great season. Our aim is to have a great season. If it were to finish now, we'd probably say we had a good year.
"I was disappointed when we dropped out of the top four. I'm not going to say we're going to finish in it, but why can we not hang in there and see what we can do? Anything in the top half of the league would be seen as a strong season for West Ham."
It was a sign of the Hammers' improvements, picking up nine points more than last season in 11 games fewer, that Moyes was frustrated with the manner of his side's performance despite racking up a 14th win of the campaign, a tally they have only surpassed in the Premier League twice in the last 14 seasons.
"Not a good performance by our standards," he said. "The players are disappointed with how they performed. Leeds make it really difficult for you to play, you have to get into a game with them, which can be difficult. You need your forward players to do well, retain the ball, and I just think we didn't do that.
"We had a bit of control, but I didn't enjoy it. We didn't pass it well at all, nothing like how we've played. But what we are doing well is being resilient and hard to beat and keeping the ball out of the net as much as we can. All those things are part of football."
Captain Declan Rice is well-placed to comment on the quality of West Ham's squad, having played every minute of the Premier League season so far.
The 22-year-old spoke to Sky Sports after their latest win and echoed his manager's hopes of reaching the top four, while explaining what has created such a vast difference in fortunes for him and his team-mates than their final-day escape from relegation barely half a year ago.
"I've been playing in the first team for four years and I said last week, this is the best squad I've been a part of at West Ham," he said.
"It's the gaffer's second time round, the players we've brought in, it's a real enjoyment. You wake up and look forward to going into training, seeing the lads.
"That's a great football environment, and that shows on the pitch, how we are off the pitch. How the manager's got us playing, it's a real special place to be around at the moment, and long may that continue.
"It's hard to come and say we're going to be in the Champions League, there's so many games left, Chelsea have hit some fantastic form and so have Tottenham. It's going to be a real tough test, but looking where we are compared to last season, it's a massive upgrade.
"It's in our hands, we've got Manchester United next then Arsenal, if we want to push on and believe we can be a European team, whether that's Europa League, Champions League, we've got to win the big games. We've just got to keep going, take every game as it comes - and we'll be ready."