West Ham boss David Moyes has urged caution on the use of star man Michail Antonio, who has been named Premier League Player of the Month for August.
Antonio picked up the award having scored four goals in the Hammers’ first three games of the season. His brace in the 4-1 win against Leicester made him the club’s record goalscorer in the Premier League. The 31-year-old has also registered three assists in that time.
His eye for goal is nothing new but last season he had several spells stuck on the sidelines with injuries. Moyes is conscious of not over-working him.
He said: “It says a lot about how he started the season because his goals have been excellent for us and his play has been very good.
“He came back in pre-season in good condition and worked very hard during that period. He’s been terrific for us and long may that continue.
“We are going to have to manage him but I do think he’s in a better place than he has been before. Obviously you can get an injury which can put you out.
“We’ve brought in other people who can maybe score goals in another way, but we’ll have to try and use him at the right times and in the right way.”
The Hammers travel to take on Southampton on Saturday, which could be the first chance for the club’s fans to see some fresh faces.
Since their last match against Crystal Palace they’ve signed Kurt Zouma and Nikola Vlasic, who both seem to be available for this weekend.
“I think most things are all good,” Moyes said about his side’s team news.
“Obviously we’ve got new players in as well. It feels a bit like a fresh start actually, getting the boys back from international duty, but I think we’re all in good shape.
“Zouma is obviously a well-seasoned professional and is still young for a centre-half. His best days are still ahead of him.
“Vlasic is young, 23, on the up and hungry to prove himself, so I hope they both become really good additions to the squad and what we’ve got.”
Moyes notes mutual respect with Saints
The Scot expressed his appreciation of their opponents as they prepare to defend their unbeaten start to the season on the south coast.
“I’ve always thought they’ve got a really good team and a good model with the way they work at the club,” he added.
“When you have to sell players on and bring players in, quite often it’s the new young players who give everybody a lift, so it’ll be a tough game.
“Southampton will know they’ll get a tough game against West Ham as well.”