West Ham are facing a number of ‘kicks and tricks’ as well as COVID cases that must be contended before the Premier League clash with Leeds United on Sunday.
David Moyes has confirmed that his side have been tested to their limits in recent weeks with the rescheduling of the match against Norwich a particular point of contention for the coach.
The original date of the Norwich match was December 18 but after the outbreak of the Corona virus and injury in the Canary camp, the match was postponed. The match was played on Wednesday evening, with West Ham winning 2-0, but Moyes was not happy with the timing of the match.
“I felt wrong to be this game [against Norwich] Moyes said.
“We just got off a really busy schedule and didn’t play a game because of anything we did with COVID but for some reason we were pushed as the first game to be rearranged on the calendar which you find very strange.”
West Ham got the three points needed against Norwich, but with three games in eight days, the coach knows he needs to manage the workloads of his players, particularly those like Michael Antonio, who are more susceptible to injury.
Asked if Antonio is able to play three games a week, the coach thinks he is but added a cautionary note: “I think he’s in a better place than he was before, but here he is.
“We still need to manage it. If we didn’t play the game in the middle of the week against Norwich, which we didn’t expect, when you play like Leeds United and the level you need your best players are ready and available. But the Norwich game became really important for us, we were less in number. A little bit on that, too.
“We’d like Mitch to be able to do that but we know we need to take care of him. We’ve tried to do that in the European and Cup matches as well, so hopefully it won’t be too much for him, but we certainly understand that.”
Antonio isn’t the only player Moyes is concerned about overplaying with Aaron Cresswell and Ryan Fredericks, both recently returning from injury.
“Ryan hit his knee in the Leeds game,” Moyes added. “That’s why I’m saying we’re taking some kicks and feints at the moment with different players. Chrissy came through the match and he felt fine. I thought he played really well in his first game after that time but you have to think about how quickly the second game comes out. For them and how it will be.
“So it’s kind of a dilemma that you have but we’re dealing with it and we know it’s going to be a long tough burden against Leeds, it always is.”
With injuries and a hectic list of matches to contend with, Moyes admitted he is looking to build up in the transfer market but hasn’t seen any action in the window.
“We’re asking about players and other clubs trying to get them to ask about players and it takes some time for the domino effect to happen,” Moyes said. “We’ve done some behind-the-scenes shows for the players, we’ve tried to look at situations so it doesn’t look like we’re not doing that at the moment. All you have to do is take a look around the football and know that there aren’t a lot of deals going on at the moment. The current one. The general feeling is that it’s a little bit more difficult for whatever reason. I hope we can achieve something.”
Moyes added: “I would like to bring some news if I can add to my pool of players. But we will try to do that as best we can. At the moment, the people we are looking for or the things we want to have are either not available or we can’t get We’ll keep looking and see what we can get between now and the end of the window.”