LONDON • West Ham United's new manager David Moyes wants his team to play attacking football but said his first task would be to build a solid defensive unit capable of grinding out results in the Premier League.
The Hammers are 18th in the standings and have conceded 23 goals, the most by any club in the English top-flight this season.
The 54-year-old Scot, who replaced sacked Slaven Bilic on Tuesday, said he will do all he can to ensure West Ham play "winning football" at the London Stadium.
"I've been a football supporter all my days and I love to see attacking play and goals," he told a news conference on Wednesday after holding a double training session.
"But that's no good if you're shipping in goals every week because you can't win the games. You have to start defensively.
"We have to start from there, try and get a few clean sheets, find out whether three or four at the back is best for us with the players available, and get ourselves bedded down."
The Hammers under Bilic made the fewest sprints and covered the second-lowest distance in the league this season. And those players who were complaining that the Croatian was a soft touch - not enough fitness work, too many days off and indiscipline going unpunished were among their criticisms - could soon be regretting their dissatisfaction.
"I think I want to be more aggressive now," Moyes said, when asked about the lessons he learnt during a trying period in which he departed three clubs - Manchester United, Real Sociedad and Sunderland - in as many years.
"When I was younger it was, 'This is how it is, take it or leave it,' but as you get older you mellow in different ways . Probably in this job I am going back to being the David Moyes at Preston (North End), when players were probably crying at the work, or at Everton in the early days.
"If the players were maybe thinking the work had not been hard enough or they maybe had not done enough, then I hope they won't cry if we turn them around and work them harder. I don't want them to say, 'This is too much'."
REUTERS, THE TIMES, LONDON