The Hammers manager took the handbrake off in pursuit of the final Champions League place at Burnley last night and his approach was vindicated as the east Londoners kept the pressure up on fourth placed Chelsea.
West Ham had to come from behind to win by just the one goal, with Michail Antonio scoring twice on his return from injury, but in truth they should have won by a more significant margin.
The return of their talisman made all the difference against an unforgiving Burnley back line, but Antonio was backed up by a swashbuckling midfield which featured the creative talents of Jesse Lingard, Said Benrahma, Manuel Lanzini and Pablo Fornals from the off.-
Moyes’s hand was slightly forced by the absence of Declan Rice and Mark Noble, his trusted and more conservative midfielders, but the 58-year-old shunned a back three and went for it.
“We’ve not got much room for many defeats, we’re going all out to try and get a result,” he said ahead of the game.
Antonio returned with two well-taken goals but should have at least bagged himself a hat-trick, fluffing a wonderful chance to bury the game from inside the six-yard box in the second half.
West Ham controlled the game, attempting 22 shots on goal as the attacking burden was lifted from Jesse Lingard. Said Benrahma took his chance with a first start since March while Manuel Lanzini shone in a deeper role alongside Tomas Soucek in midfield.
“I think there were a lot of good things we could take away from it with our overall performance, our appetite to try and score goals was great,” said Moyes.
“We are there, we are around a wee bit at the moment. We are going to try and keep up with the teams at the top. Whether we can make the top four I am not sure but I would really like to try and get ourselves in a position where we could possibly make Europe and we are in there fighting with four games to go.”
Moyes said last night that West Ham will have to win all four of their remaining games if they are to catch Chelsea and clinch a historic Champions League spot.
Thomas Tuchel’s side, who beat the Hammers in a crucial top four clash last month, sit three points ahead but also must navigate their Champions League semi-final, second leg and a potential European final, as well as the FA Cup final on May 15.
The Blues are also still to play Manchester City, Arsenal and Leicester City before the season ends. Comparatively, on paper at least, West Ham’s run-in (Everton, Brighton, West Brom and Southampton) is an easier ride without any distraction.
The Hammers are handling the pressure of the run-in well, playing with freedom and with Benrahma and Lanzini hitting form at the ideal time and Declan Rice still to return from injury, they know they still have quite the chance of making history.
One thing is for certain, Moyes will give it a go for the big one.