Football: West Ham boss Moyes frustrated fans can't watch match at stadium

West Ham United's manager David Moyes during the match between Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United in London on Oct 18, 2020.
West Ham United's manager David Moyes during the match between Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United in London on Oct 18, 2020.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON • Having thrashed Leicester and Wolves and snatched a last-gasp draw at Tottenham in the Premier League, West Ham are going through a purple patch.

So it is doubly frustrating for manager David Moyes that Hammers fans continue to be barred from attending games, yet are allowed to catch a live screening at cinemas.

English top-flight matches have been staged behind closed doors since June due to the Covid-19 pandemic. But West Ham's home game against Manchester City will be aired at selected movie theatres, including one near the London Stadium.

Questioning the logic, Moyes said at his pre-match virtual press conference yesterday: "People (are) going to watch a game in a cinema, close to here, why can we not be sitting outside in the open air doing it?

"Maybe there are other reasons - maybe it's the travelling on the Tube, the bus; maybe it's the pubs. But, if that is the case, please come out and give us an explanation as to why we can't do it.

"I'm certainly not an expert on a pandemic. But I watched the European games this week and have seen crowds back in different countries. It's hard to believe we can't do that... Why can those countries be doing it and not us?"

West Ham, who some critics had tipped to go down in pre-season predictions, are ninth in the standings with seven points, the same as 11th-placed City who have a game in hand.

On City's visit, Moyes said Pep Guardiola's men have struggled to hit their stride as they are in a "transitional period", with experienced players having left in recent years.

However, the Scot has no illusions about the task at hand despite their good form - they have lost their last eight Premier League matches against City.

He said: "They lost Vincent Kompany a year or two ago and they lost David Silva (last season).

"So they're trying to add to and get the level of those players that they've had over the years. They're looking for that, (but) I think Manchester City are still one of the best teams in the world."

His cautious stance was justified after Guardiola revealed at his pre-match press conference that some of his injured players would return for the visit to West Ham.

While the Catalan confirmed Benjamin Mendy, Gabriel Jesus and Fernandinho were out, others like Kevin de Bruyne and Aymeric Laporte - both were seen in training earlier this week - and Nathan Ake look set to be included.

Playing it coy, Guardiola said: "Some of them will be involved, some of them not. You will know it tomorrow.

"The past is the past, we have good results. What we saw against Tottenham, always West Ham have quality players.

"They play really well against Tottenham, not just the last minutes, even at 3-0 down, they play with a lot of personality. They are in good form. Definitely, they are in a good moment.

"This league is so difficult. The guys who have seven, eight days between games have more time to prepare. On the other side, we are competing for titles and this is how we have to live."

REUTERS


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 24, 2020, with the headline 'Moyes frustrated fans can't watch match at stadium'. Print Edition | Subscribe