West Ham boss David Moyes credits the lengthy lockdown period as the key factor in the Hammers’ resurgence.
Moyes – who was re-appointed as manager last December – had overseen just one Premier League victory in West Ham’s previous nine games before the March lockdown, before they amassed 12 points after the June restart to maintain their status in the top-flight.
And after a rather chaotic start to 2020/21, which saw them lose their opening two games of the campaign, the east Londoners have since enjoyed a six-game unbeaten run and currently sit 12th in the table – five points adrift of Southampton in fourth.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Moyes believes the three-month hiatus earlier this year was crucial in West Ham’s upturn in form: “I think since lockdown we’ve improved greatly.
“The period of lockdown, I could nearly have called that a long pre-season. When we got players back obviously it all started in ones and twos but it gave me the chance to be closer to the players and it gave me a chance to try to build the team spirit, which I thought needed help with as well.
“I think since then, we’ve grown. We’ve scored an awful lot of goals and I think we started well again this year. We had a poor defensive record last year, and we worked hard to try to find a way of eradicating it or certainly making it better, and at this present in time we’re doing a bit better in that department as well,” he added.
Following their strong finish to the 2019/20 season, Moyes opted for a system switch to a 3-4-3 permanently – something which has helped establish a balance in the West Ham side.
“I think the change to 3-4-3 fitted what we had, trying to concede less goals, trying to score more goals and getting players in the team – and I’ve got to say, since we’ve played it we’ve done very well,” said the Scot.
The Hammers return to Premier League action with a trip to the struggling Sheffield United on Sunday afternoon.