Michail Antonio has laid bare the reasons why West Ham are struggling this season, and his criticisms seem to point the finger of blame squarely at manager David Moyes.
The Hammers finished sixth and seventh in the past two seasons, though have come crashing back down to earth in the current campaign.
They sit 18th in the table with just one point collected from their last seven matches. They’ve struggled at both ends of the pitch, though particularly in attack.
Indeed, their mark of 15 goals is the joint-second fewest in the league. Only Wolves (12) have found the net on fewer occasions.
Now, speaking to the Footballers’ Football Podcast, senior striker Michail Antonio has explained where West Ham have gone wrong this season.
In doing so, the tactical changes implemented by the under-fire David Moyes came in for sharp criticism.
“We’ve changed the mark from let’s not get relegated to let’s push for the Champions League,” said Antonio (via Sky Sports). “We were jumping steps.
“We tried to change our philosophy. You can see, this season, we haven’t played the same way we’ve been playing the last two years. We’ve changed it slightly. We’ve brought in players to play through the thirds.
“Over the last couple of years we’ve not really played much possession football. We kind of sat off teams and just countered. Because we’ve been up there in the top six, everyone up there plays possession football. They keep the ball, try to break teams down and score more free-flowing goals.
“You can see over the last few games, we’ve conceded more goals on counter-attacks than we ever had in the last two years. We’re open way more, expansive.
“Teams are countering us the way we would have countered them before. It’s a transition. We’re trying to transition to become a bigger team and, I’ve got to be honest, it ain’t working.”
Striker signing could push Antonio out
Antonio has taken a back seat to summer recruit Gianluca Scamacca this season.
The veteran has just eight league starts from a possible 19 and his situation is destined to become a whole lot more challenging very shortly.
Indeed, the Hammers are on the cusp of signing Aston Villa frontman, Danny Ings. The 30-year-old will cost £15m including add-ons and an agreement over personal terms was described as being close on Thursday morning.
All three of Ings, Scamacca and Antonio can only play up front. Moyes generally operates with a lone striker, meaning Antonio may well be phased out entirely.
He was the subject of a shock loan bid from Chelsea earlier in the window. However, they aren’t the only Premier League side who believe Antonio still has plenty to give.
talkSPORT also claim Everton are a contender if Antonio departs.