By Anthony Onifade

3rd Apr, 2023 | 7:10am

BBC pundit Danny Murphy delighted by 'tenacious' Lucas Paqueta's performance for West Ham United v Southampton

BBC pundit Danny Murphy has heaped praise on Lucas Paqueta for his “tenacious” and coming-of-age performance for West Ham United against Southampton on Sunday [2 April] in their crucial 1-0 win.

The Hammers lifted themselves out of the bottom three and leave their opponents at the foot of the table after Nayef Aguerd’s precise first-half header from Thilo Kehrer’s free-kick.

It wasn’t a pretty win but David Moyes will have been delighted by the performance of his £51m Brazilian star for which Murphy singled him out as the side’s best performer on Sunday afternoon.

Speaking on BBC Match of the Day [2 April, 34m:52s], he said: “I’ve picked out Paqueta because he’s had a little bit of criticism, he came in for a lot of money and big expectations.

“One thing I saw today was he’s up for a fight, he put a real shift in, especially in the second half when the game was a bit flat and the fans went flat but he showed a real desire to go after the ball and win it back.

“He’s always got quality, and we’ve seen that many times. But, this is what I’m talking about, winning tackles, West Ham United have been too heavily reliant on Declan Rice in the middle of the pitch for a long time and he stepped up today, he was as tenacious and as brave a performance as I’ve seen from him.”

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Asked by Mark Chapman if he’s finally settled in, Murphy responded saying: “Yeah, I think physically now, he’s used to it. He looks better physically.”

Showed up

When you’ve been picked out in a West Ham United shirt over the brilliance of Declan Rice in the midfield, then you know you’ve shown up and showed out and that is what Paqueta did when the Hammers desperately needed him most on Sunday.

The £51m Brazilian was absolutely superb and showed another side to his game other than the unique and flawless creative abilities we know he can show on a regular.

Certainly, the former Lyon man has struggled at times this season, trying to acclimatise himself to the division but he proved his worth on Sunday with a hugely resilient and tenacious performance.

The West Ham man registered the most duels won, most possession won and also recorded the most tackles in a complete defensive performance [Squawka].

With the Hammers locked in a tight and nerve-wracking relegation dogfight, they are desperately going to need their biggest stars to show up and Moyes will be expecting Paqueta to perform to similar levels in the coming weeks. He is indeed a key component for the Irons.