David Moyes is hoping West Ham can emulate Atletico Madrid with a “disciplined” performance at Liverpool, but has acknowledged they will need to change approach.
Moyes suffered his fifth loss in eight games since returning as Hammers manager on Wednesday night, as they fell to a 2-0 defeat to Man City.
The only victory in his second reign in east London came in his first game in charge, with a 4-0 victory over fellow relegation candidates Bournemouth, and since then West Ham have lost to Sheffield United, Leicester, Liverpool and City in the league.
They sit 18th in the table heading into the weekend, having suffered an overwhelming defeat at the Etihad which saw them record just 22 percent of possession, failing to hit the target once.
A defensive approach did limit City to just two goals, but that is far from a positive for Moyes, despite claiming after the game it may aid his side’s hopes of beating the drop through goal difference.
Speaking to reporters at the Etihad, the Scot explained that “the structure we set up tonight was to make it difficult” for their hosts, claiming West Ham “did a decent job” with “some bits of defending that were very good.”
Asked how he would approach the trip to Anfield on Monday night, he suggested he would use Atletico’s 1-0 win over Liverpool in the Champions League as inspiration.
“We are hoping for, and are going to have to give, a disciplined performance,” he said.
“We watched an incredibly disciplined performance from Atletico Madrid against them last night, and I think that’s part of football as well.”
Moyes is right to take a pragmatic approach, of course, though the loss to City did see him name over £100 million worth of talent on his substitutes’ bench including Sebastien Haller and Felipe Anderson, while Pablo Fornels was omitted entirely.
His admission that “the majority of teams who will find it difficult to get results” against City and Liverpool is also correct, but it may be accepting defeat already if he takes the same approach as on January 29.
That night at the London Stadium saw Moyes field a back five and concede 70.6 percent of possession to the Reds, also leading to a 2-0 defeat.
West Ham are averaging 1.86 goals conceded per game in the league in Moyes’ second tenure, and one of the key issues has been their defending from corners—an area that happens to be a particular strength of Liverpool’s.
“I think not long before I came in it was man-to-man marking, [which I] changed to zonal because it was the right way to go,” Moyes said on Wednesday night.
“But we have lost a couple of goals from corners now and we need to have a look and see what we can do.”
Switching tactics with just four days between games—with at least one of those focusing on recovery—could be an issue for Moyes, and no doubt Jurgen Klopp‘s analysts will note this as an area to exploit as they eye a positive response to defeat in Madrid.