David Moyes feels we have ‘not scratched the surface yet’ of our potential after we beat Crystal Palace to continue our flawless start to 2021 and move into the top four of the Premier League.
We have now won six in a row in all competitions, with the latest victory coming from an impressive away display, epitomised by Tomas Soucek, who was on target twice.
Palace took an early lead through their returning talisman Wilfried Zaha, but we were soon back on terms through a goal from our Czech midfielder and from thereon in dominated.
The free-scoring Soucek added another and Craig Dawson netted a third with a routine header before Michy Batshuayi’s late strike for the hosts took some of the shine off the scoreline but not the result.
“We are getting better and we are an improved team, but I think we are not scratching the surface yet. I think we have so much more we can give. Part of a manager’s job is to raise expectations at your football club but I will not try and be stupid because West Ham have done it too often and maybe got it wrong. I am going to be a bit more steady and sensible if I can. But I am ambitious, I want to manage teams at the top of the league and be competing in the competitions if I can. And the players are giving me every hope, they’re doing a great job and they have been exceptional in the way they have played and they want more – I can sense it in the dressing room.”West Ham boss David Moyes
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We sit fourth in the table, above champions Liverpool, a scenario few would have imagined just a year ago. We were 17th in the Premier League, just one point above the relegation zone, when Moyes returned for a second spell in December 2019
Now he may have his sights on matching our best ever Premier League finish of fifth in 1999 – although Moyes will know as well as any manager not to take his side’s form for granted in this most unpredictable of seasons.
Zaha’s brilliant early goal had us on the back foot right away but we settled well and were level when Michail Antonio hooked a ball across for the ever-dangerous Soucek to power in a header.
The Czech has had a great year under Moyes and soon added a second, controlling a deep free-kick on his thigh before smashing in at the near post.
“When you think this time last year we signed him and to come in and hit the ground running in the Premier League is really difficult at any time, but he has not only done that – he has made a big difference. He has made a difference with his performances, with the type of lad he is and his honesty, so he has been great and he can score and he showed that tonight.”David Moyes
Antonio will feel he should have bettered Soucek’s efforts but he twice hitting the post and saw Vicente Guaita make a wonderful reflex save to keep him out.
His misses would not matter though, despite Batshuayi’s stoppage-time finish. Dawson’s powerful header made it five wins for Moyes in five matches at Selhurst Park, for five different teams – Preston (2001), Everton (2004), Manchester United (2014), Sunderland (2017) and West Ham (2021).