David Moyes denied that he has been pushing Jesse Lingard too hard and urged West Ham to stay “realistic” after dropping points in the Champions League race.
West Ham went into their game with Newcastle inside the top four as they push for a surprising European qualification. However, they went two goals down to their opponents in a first half in which they also had Craig Dawson sent off. A late fightback saw them restore parity only for Newcastle to make it 3-2 almost immediately after.
Hence, it was a missed opportunity for the Hammers, who will also have concerns after Lingard had to go off late in the game.
The on-loan Manchester United midfielder has made a stunning impact since his move. But Moyes isn’t too concerned about how long he might miss.
He explained: “Think it was just cramp. I have not had a chance to speak to the physio about it but I don’t think it was anything serious, to be honest.
“I think the one thing about Jesse, Jesse is a really fit boy. Jesse wants to play. I think I push all my players hard, Jesse is no different.
“He won’t get any favoured treatment – certainly not for a Scotsman going into the Euros this year!
“We’re really pleased with him. He does a lot of good things, he was quieter today – I know he got us a goal – but he was a bit quieter because we didn’t play well enough into the forward players.”
West Ham could be overtaken by Chelsea (who are their next opponents) and Liverpool if they win their games in hand. The Reds’ next game is on Monday and the Blues’ next league game is the day after.
However, Moyes played down the idea that it was a missed opportunity to strengthen their grip on a Champions League place.
He said: “I don’t think it was a chance lost. I think it was an opportunity for us to pick up three points.
“We have to be careful that we don’t… we like talking about the Champions League, we love the sound of that when everybody says it, but we are realistic.
“We have said before the quality of the teams around us and below us have been over this course many more times than us.
“But the way the players have played has been fantastic. Today we made a couple of mistakes which probably cost us the game.”
The worst part for Moyes was how his side let go of the point they had worked hard to restore.
He said: “I was more disappointed with the last 10 minutes than any other part of the game because we gave away that third goal when we had got ourselves back in the game.
“Those 10 minutes at the end were the most disappointing bits really.”
Moyes won’t berate players
However, the manager was keen not to place too much emphasis on that disappointment. Instead, he is keeping a sense of perspective.
He said: “I said to the players, there are no big issues today. We know we made mistakes.
“I can shout at them if I want to and tell them; I don’t think they need to be told. They’re very experienced players who have done that.
“I was more disappointed that we got back to 2-2, now [you say] play correctly.
“I’ve been in Newcastle’s position where you want to protect your lead. It is not a big drama; we’re not going to make big issues out of it.
“We’ve had some great results this season. This one wasn’t so good but we came very close to getting a good result, I’ve got to say.”