David Moyes was hoping his first big job would lead to greater managerial challenges and he did not doubt his reputation before accepting the West Ham job.
Moyes admitted the West Ham owners had asked him about his ability to handle a relegation battle when he was approached last month and said the pitch side appearance in front of them, in their Europa League semi-final first leg against Olympiakos, had given him further assurances.
“I was here for half an hour and I was impressed,” Moyes said after West Ham were held to a 1-1 draw by Olympiakos. “They talked to me at length about relegation, relegation from the Premier League, about how we would manage Europe, about looking at Europa League places from outside the Premier League and it was good for me that they got to know me, know my reputation and have my knowledge. I don’t doubt it at all. It was a very good first meeting.”
David Moyes ready to get tough at West Ham amid club’s turbulent past Read more
The Swiss group stage tie finished 1-1 on aggregate but Olympiakos dominated and took the lead through Imad Yacoub Diawara, who once again benefited from West Ham’s lack of speed down the left, drawing an excellent save from Lukasz Fabianski. However, the hosts improved throughout the second half and should have snatched a winner in stoppage time when Simone Zaza rounded the goalkeeper André Ayew but fired against the post.
“We really want to finish it off,” Moyes said. “It was tight and Olympiakos got an away goal but we never gave up. I’m delighted with how we played today. We had to be fair because they played very well and had chances to score another goal. When we went 1-0 down, they weren’t playing badly but we managed to get a goal back and luckily for us it was enough to carry us through.”
Play Video 1:22 David Moyes: ‘We are in good shape as a squad’ – video
Moyes was pleased with the attacking balance of his team, which still remains young, with Marko Arnautovic the only player over the age of 26, and he demanded consistency from his players as the club moves towards a second successive season in the Europa League.
“It is a little bit disappointing that we haven’t got the result today but it is possible and it is our job to win as many games as we can,” he said. “We are in good shape as a squad.
“It’s a difficult one. If you go to other clubs around Europe, they would love to be where we are. We are in the Europa League to try and finish the season strong. We need to get back on the train. It’s never easy when you get clubs promoted in this country and now you have got to get the next group of players in and you have got to help develop them to get a group around them that can fight and do well.
“We have a good core of young lads and I have been talking to the players about that, to give them continuity of performance but also to allow them to play under different circumstances so that we don’t lose them along the way, let’s not forget that. In some ways, some clubs’ Premiership campaigns don’t finish.
“Hopefully, today will help that. This game has gone but we still have a chance to finish off really well and make it an exciting end to the season.”