West Ham players are becoming increasingly unhappy with David Moyes as the threat of relegation looms large, according to The Guardian.
The Hammers were thrashed 4-0 at Brighton on Saturday (4 March) to put the manager’s job under major scrutiny once again but the board are so far sticking by him.
However, he is now batting “growing discontent within his squad” thanks to his defensive tactics and team selections.
The 2-0 loss at Tottenham on 19 February caused “unease” after the Scot named a defensive line-up in a 5-3-2 formation, and there is now a “lack of faith” in his approach.
Players feel that Moyes’ style is holding them back, and having failed to successfully implement a more expansive system this season they are becoming more and more unhappy with his caution.
The dressing room was however “jubilant” when he reacted to the Spurs defeat with an attacking team that hammered Nottingham Forest 4-0 on 25 February, but the subsequent exit from the FA Cup and the awful display at Brighton has seen fans turn as well as players.
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Spending close to £200million over the past two transfer windows and not knowing what to do with the arrivals is not a good way to improve your long-term job prospects by any stretch.
The board are showing what some would see as admirable patience with their manager, whereas an increasing contingent will view it as stubborn.
Clearly Moyes can get a tune out of a small squad that plays on the counter as he has done for the past two seasons, but it doesn’t suggest he is the man to take them to the next level if he has been given the tools and he has failed as badly as this season.
Injuries have played their part, but for all the support Moyes is getting from above it won’t mean much if he hasn’t got it from below.
The Forest win and solid draws with Chelsea and Newcastle in the prior weeks show that there is the makings of a side here, but if Moyes’ inherent caution is working against them then it could be only a matter of time before he is moved on.
Even if David Sullivan and the West Ham board are backing Moyes for now, they won’t accept spending millions on high-priced internationals only to see them wasted, so if the tactics are the problem then there is only one way this will go, and whether that is the right move or a fair one will not matter.