By Anthony Onifade

17th Mar, 2023 | 8:10am

David Moyes mind games work on Gianluca Scamacca for West Ham United

David Moyes has been caught playing mind games on West Ham striker Gianluca Scamacca and it seemed to work on Thursday night against AEK Larnaca, according to Daily Mail journalist Kieran Gill.

West Ham beat the Cypriot side to reach the last eight of the Europa Conference League, for which the Italian international bagged the opener inside 20 minutes.

Moyes admitted during the week that the striker’s “physical data” [13 March] is not at the level required to start games under him, following his injury trouble only appearing from the bench in their last two games since returning.

And upon his scoring return to the team, Gill pointed out [Daily Mail, 17 March, page 82] that Moyes’ pre-match mind game seemed to work on the talented forward.

He said: “Who says managerial mind games do not work? Scamacca spent this week listening to Moyes criticise his physical data, but he delivered here. As did Jarrod Bowen, who scored twice.”

Great response

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In what’s been a tough few weeks for the Italian international, struggling to get into the Hammers team after injury, followed by a warning from his national team boss Roberto Mancini that he needs to start more games for the Hammers and then Moyes’ physical data criticism meant Scamacca certainly had pressure to deliver.

And he duly reminded everyone around the whole club of his piercing qualities after his 20-minute strike on Thursday night. In fact, he could have had a hattrick, which makes his performance a great response to all the doubts and apparent mind games thrown at him.

It has indeed been a tough first year in England for the former Sassuolo man but he must carry this return to form forward now, with the Hammers in desperate need of attacking quality if they are to steer clear of a needless relegation dogfight.

Hopefully, this could be the turning point of the striker’s season. More of Moyes’ mind games, please.