London ball

David Moyes: Another managerial step, a challenge at the top and a London derby

Moyes David will reach another managerial milestone when he takes his West Ham United side to Arsenal for their final test on Wednesday night.

After reaching 1,000 team matches in November’s UEFA Europa League game in Genk, the boss will now lead a Premier League game for the 600th time at the Emirates Stadium.

And with West Ham heading for the contest fourth in the table, with the Gunners just two spots below them, he’s determined to record another positive result.

Here’s what the boss had to say during his pre-match press conference …

It’s great to take another step on Wednesday.

I didn’t know this statistic, but it’s a great thing. I hit 1000 games about a month ago, and I saw that as a big achievement, and I think reaching 600 games in the Premier League is also a fair achievement. The names you mention [Alex Ferguson and Arsène Wenger] are very well known and very successful as managers so hopefully I can keep working and trying to be successful at whatever level.

Getting to Arsenal is a big game for both of us.

It’s huge, like all games, but we’re positive and we’re in a strong position. We try to stay there as long as we can and we try to reach third place if we can – we don’t look back, we try to catch up with the teams above us.

Obviously we are aware of the strength of the teams below us and there is a good chance you will give up. You could come back and there will be different times of the season where your form is better than other times, but I think it’s a good position for us to go into Christmas time. I hope we can come out of it in good shape.

We set high standards and we must meet them at all times.

Burnley has always been a tough place to get a result. To get to a position where people might think, well West Ham would have to go to Burnley and win that’s good but also on the other side I think it’s a little disrespectful [to Burnley] say that.

Burnley are a tough team to face and have been for West Ham for many seasons. Maybe not last season, but we want to win and we probably should have won but we didn’t take a chance.

We have challenged the big teams well this season.

I think maybe it’s a change of mindset. We wanted to be organized and prepared against teams that are so good with the ball and are used to winning, having top players and having built up squads over the years.

We are always trying to build a team and a team that can be competitive. Right now I think most people would think we’re a little ahead of where we should be, so I’m happy with that, but now that we’re here I’m not going to give up. I’m going to keep fighting for it, keep pushing and demand that the players give us continuous results and keep it going.

I have to say that there have been a lot of good things the players have done and it is not easy. There are now other games where we have challenged the players to make sure we have a chance with the big teams, but there are other teams that come here that maybe make it a lot harder to get in. to score against them, so we have to overcome that. It’s part of becoming a great team, that other teams will try to do things to stop you.

Arsenal are in good shape, but we are also very well placed.

We are in an excellent position for this match in front of Arsenal. We also finished last season above Arsenal, which was a great achievement for us, and we want to try again. I think it’s a lot harder, we’ve been a bit of the club that teams try to catch and challenge on the minute and it’s the other three above that people probably think it’s very difficult to access it.

I mean, bring it on, we’ll stay there, pull our chest out, take it and see how we do. We have no reason to run away from the teams, we think we can play against them and we will try to do it the other night.

David Moyes and Mikel Arteta

I’m not surprised Mikel Arteta is doing well.

I saw those leadership qualities at Everton and also saw a bit of the determination that he knew what he wanted and what he thought he would like. So it’s no surprise [to see him do well]. He worked under Pep, from whom he would have taken a lot of information and watched how he was developing a team and he was a very good footballer himself.

He would be able to give a lot of information to the players and I think he started his career well at Arsenal. He’s done really well, won a few trophies, built a new team there and it’s not easy for a young manager.

I’m sure Michail Antonio is on the verge of getting back into shape.

He’s been amazing for us, since we put him in the center forward he’s been amazing. The streak he was on when we came out of lockdown, his pride in trying to be a goalscorer and turn into a No.9 and I think when you become a No.9 you go through phases where you can’t score and the secret is keep going.

He is a key member of the team and when his form is good the team also plays much better. Whether that means he’s scoring or not scoring, his overall form matters to the way we play, so it would be nice to bring him back to that better form right away. I’m sure he’s not too far away – I’ve seen signs that he’s just starting to click for him so I hope we’re not far.