DAVID MOYES has told West Ham fans to sink a drink and back the team tonight — rather than attack the board.
The Hammers boss admits he was “shocked” by hostile chanting from their supporters in the 2-0 defeat at Watford in his opening game.
And he hopes they have that Friday feeling when they come to the London Stadium to watch his first home match, against Leicester tonight.
Moyes said: “I have come in and I don’t know the politics. I was shocked by it when I heard it. If we can do well on the pitch, then hopefully the supporters concentrate on getting right behind the team.
“Friday night football is quite good. People come to the game looking forward to the weekend. They may have a couple of drinks on the way in and look forward to a few drinks on their way home.
“If I’m in that mood, I’m there to support the team and be up for the side. I know the standards we have to set for the team. We want to try to improve that.
“I hope they give us a little bit of time but we need to get a result at home as soon as we can.
“We want everybody to be together, be united and help each other along. I want them to be behind us, I want them to give the team every chance of winning.”
Moyes, though, needs a response from his players as well as the home fans.
The former Manchester United and Everton boss was accused by some Sunderland supporters of giving up too quickly and easily last season.
Moyes’ decision to appoint former Hammer Stuart Pearce as an assistant has also led to suggestions that the no-nonsense approach may be backfiring with a squad that want their egos stroked, not pricked.
The Scot maintains there was a good cop as well as a bad cop side to his managerial approach.
He added: “Don’t get me wrong, you cannot be that way all the time. I think modern football means you do need to have a relationship with the players as well.
“But they’ve got to know there’s a line where you go and that’s it. I’m only interested in their performance on the pitch.
“Obviously, I want them to behave themselves off it but I’m only interested in them playing well in the game and giving us something where we can say: ‘Yeah, well, I like that, we can build on that for the next game’. If we can do that, then I’m happy.”
Moyes, 54, seems in fairly good spirits. He joked that he wished Leicester striker Jamie Vardy was in the celebrity jungle in place of wife Rebekah and apologised for arriving late after training, saying with a grin: “We’ve a lot of work to do.”
But he makes no apology for making his West Ham players do some extra yards. Those in the dressing room who felt things were too relaxed under Slaven Bilic cannot have it both ways.
Moyes added: “We closed the Watford game on Tuesday and moved on. We trained Tuesday, we weren’t recovering. I want to get away from the idea that every second day back is a recovery day.
“Let’s get ready and get the work done. Ideally, we’d have six pre-season friendlies but I have got a bundle of players at the moment where I am deciding who is doing the best role. I need to find that very quickly.”
With the Hammers in the relegation zone, he certainly does.
Moyes was unwilling to answer directly the question of how the toxic atmosphere at West Ham compares with what he found at Sunderland.
But he is willing to throw one compliment towards the dressing room.
Moyes said: “The group of players here are really together.
“Their togetherness is a massive strength. There are players that are willing to lead, shut the door and let players be aware of their responsibilities. When you have that, it gives you a great chance as a manager.”
And it saves your voice, too.