George Parris: ‘We need to keep focusing on the positives to pull us out of this struggle’

We showed encouraging signs against Leeds and secured a FA Cup win against Brentford

Declan Rice (WHU) at the Aston Villa v West Ham United EPL match, at Villa Park, Birmingham, UK on August 28, 2022.

I’m always trying to look for positives and for me, the Leeds performance was better and the result also stopped the rot after five straight defeats in the league. Moyes has had to tinker because of a combination of players in poor form and injuries but we looked like we could score in that game.

Having said that, we still look like we are going to concede, as we have done for many games this season. One argument in Moyes’ favour is that he’s not had a settled side that play together week in, week out over a good number of games.

Our last few games have really highlighted the need for us to have some pace at the back. But I also think because the team aren’t playing as well as we did in the previous two seasons, gaps are appearing that weren’t there before.

We’ve got two games coming up against Wolves and Everton that will give us another chance to build on that Leeds performance. These games are going to be key for us, clearly it’s better to be winning them than losing them, but i don’t think they will make or break our season. There are still plenty of games to come.

But we are looking over our shoulders at the moment so there will be pressure on the lads to get wins in both. If we lose them both, we really are in trouble. As poor as we’ve been at times this season, I don’t think the table will stay as it is.  

I’ve watched some of the other teams in the bottom half and there are some poor teams, some of them will start dropping into the scrap. And I think Moyes will be around for a bit longer because with the transfer window opening in January, if you were minded to sack your manager, you’d have got rid last month to bring in a new manager and give them a chance to bring in a player or two that they wanted.  

Also when everyone is fit, we have a strong squad. Players like Zouma being out for a while aren’t helping Moyes. But will we have a fully fit squad at any stage between now and the end of the season? I’m not sure

This is my first column since the World Cup, where I watched all the England games but only a select few others. It just didn’t have the same draw to me as a summer tournament would’ve. But the final was a fantastic advert for football. If you didn’t know anything about football, you would’ve stayed to watch it even though you had no idea what was going on. It was a fantastic match.

Hindsight is always great but England will feel that was a great opportunity to go on and win it. If someone had said to us before the France game that we’d have two penalties in the game, you’d have taken that. It was always going to be tough for Kane taking that second penalty. When you take two penalties in a game it’s always going to be the case of bluff and counter bluff.

Not helped was that Lloris is a teammate so will know which way he usually goes, and having already gone that way earlier in the game, you could see Kane wanted just to lift it a bit higher. A bit lower and it goes in, and what could have happened then? It was just one of those fine lines in the game that you always hope to be on the right side of.

And from one cup competition to another, it was great to see the FA Cup back earlier this month. For me, it’s still a magical cup and we went into the Brentford game as underdogs, which I felt might be a good thing because the pressure would be off.

We could put out a strong side with no midweek game after and give it a go. It was great to see we kept a clean sheet, got the victory, and secured our place in the next round. I’m hoping the determination shown at Leeds and the resilience shown at Brentford will be the start of us turning a corner.

Finally, I wanted to say how sad I was to hear of the passing of David Gold. I first met him during my time at Birmingham. It was very obvious then he was a huge West Ham fan because every conversation I had with him went back to West Ham.

I have had a few dealings with him since then and he was a lovely man. Hopefully during our next home game, there will be a fitting tribute to him. His passing may also pull everyone back together. It’s moments like this that can make a big difference.

The players will know he’ll be looking down on us and hopefully that’ll spur them on.

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