Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Next Two Matches Crucial for Hammers Manager. before It Gets Really Tough

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Next Two Matches Crucial for Hammers Manager. before It Gets Really Tough

Article excerpt

Byline: Tony Evans @tonyevans92a

FRIDAY night can't come fast enough for most of the working population. It will arrive too quickly in the East End this week. Those associated with West Ham are apprehensive about what might happen in four days' time.

David Moyes's home debut as manager will be played in front of a fractious Friday night crowd at the London Stadium. West Ham cannot afford a poor result against Leicester.

The next month is a critical period for Moyes. After Leicester, the Hammers travel to Goodison to face Everton, the club where the Scot built his reputation. It is an awkward place to go even though the Merseyside club are also struggling. After that, the going gets really tough.

In the first 13 days of December, West Ham are away to Manchester City and host Chelsea and Arsenal. That run makes it crucial they pick up points against Leicester and Everton.

Incoming managers usually benefit from a number of factors. Change often brings optimism. The new man frequently provides a 'bounce', an upturn in form. There was little evidence of these effects during the 2-0 defeat by Watford at Vicarage Road yesterday. That is not necessarily the fault of the new manager.

When a club has been in reverse for as long as West Ham it takes a while to arrest the slide. It took Sam Allardyce more than a month to steady the situation at Crystal Palace last season. The master firefighter looked bereft of ideas for weeks after taking charge at Selhurst Park. The situation is similar: like West Ham, Palace persisted too long with a manager who was no longer effective and the players lost faith in the direction of the club. Reigniting enthusiasm and instilling belief are not overnight tasks.

Moyes does not have a lot of time. The mood among the supporters is on the poisonous side of toxic. There is barely any goodwill towards the 54-year-old and the crowd rounded on the players and owners yesterday.

The signs on the pitch were not encouraging at Vicarage Road. Moyes was a fiery presence during his peak years at Goodison and his team had more of an aggressive edge against Watford. …

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