Another great night for you tonight from defense to attack. Do you need to be excited?
Yes, I am thrilled with the performance. I thought the players recovered very well from the performance on Sunday when we didn’t reach our level, but tonight we did it and got a really big win against a team that was really good this season.
You threw in Jesse Lingard from the start and his two goals looked so sharp for a man who hasn’t played that long
Well, my biggest concern wasn’t actually his all-round fitness, but his match fitness and sharpness. So I wasn’t quite so sure. I knew he had worked hard and trained hard at Manchester United so I wasn’t too worried that it was just his sharpness because there was a real lack of minutes. He didn’t half show that he’s in good shape, he helped us play better and scored two goals so tonight was a brilliant debut for him.
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He looked very hungry. Do you think he’ll have to prove a point to some after not playing in so long?
If he plays as well as he did tonight and continues to score, he will do an excellent job for West Ham and if he continues to do so he will be included in the English squad.
The level he is at wasn’t so long ago that he was an England international and I hope he can return to that standard and if he does it will be great for us at West Ham.
How pleased are you with the signing you have made with some of them who are not well known names … Soucek, Coufal, Dawson, Bowen
Well, I’m not sure West Ham is ready to sign household names. I think we have to find a way to build ourselves up and get ourselves to a level where we can then and hopefully it will be in the future.
We have to move forward step by step and we are taking a big step right now. The players we have have improved endlessly. The players in building their mentality and the way they do their jobs have been excellent so the players we are added did a good job too.
Only Bruno Fernandes has scored more goals in midfield than Soucek and Fernandes has many penalties. How satisfied were you with him?
He was. Sometimes as a manager you have to have a bit of luck and luck, you have to find a player and hopefully we found a good player who made a difference, with whom he’s a great boy.
He was a little unlucky not to score another goal tonight. It just went over the bar, but it may take a long time. He had a great first year in the Premier League. I hope he has a long stay with us and continues to play with the form he is in.
What would you attribute the return of confidence to, the Liverpool run or maybe Jesse’s influence?
We were surprised how we played on Sunday, disappointingly surprised how we played on Sunday. Tonight was more like the level we played at. We played better in some games. I think it was a shock and we just felt like we didn’t play [against LIverpool] and the players were very aware of that.
They deserve incredible credit for tonight because they played against a Villa team that I speak of a lot because they have some really good young players and some exciting players and it was a really tough game for us.
Gareth Southgate was here tonight and would have been impressed not only by Jesse but also by Mick tonight
Mick played a lot better tonight, he looked a bigger threat, and maybe Jesse helped him look and feel better, he got into the right positions.
I thought Declan played very well again and I’ve said it a couple of times but if Jesse keeps this form I’m not saying he can, but if he keeps that form Gareth might knock again to see what he can do him for.
Did you talk to Jesse about England and possibly reinstate the squad when he joined?
No, I am a Scot! I’m a Scot, I won’t do that! But overall, the point is that he will have his own ambitions. His only challenge is to show people that he is on a level and I thought tonight that he was on a really great level as a player.
Ross Barkley is very similar, who does a great job for Aston Villa. There are a lot of people out there who are trying very hard to make up the English squad for the Euros and why shouldn’t Jesse try to push for it if he’s continuing the form he was in tonight.
They are two points behind Liverpool in fourth place. How big is the challenge, how excited are you? They don’t have European football and could really give a boost to these top four places.
Did you say top 4 there? I almost suffocated there when you said that!
We’re in a really good position but I would be foolish to sit here and say something else because that’s what happens, we were set up against Liverpool and we didn’t play against a really good team.
Tonight we played a really good team and we played. We will of course keep knocking on the door. We don’t have European football and that was an incredibly busy schedule and we still have it, there is a quick turnaround for Saturday, we have a cup game and then another league and then it starts to calm down a bit.
Let’s hope that we can put ourselves in a position where after the next league games we have the chance to benefit from the other teams with European football.
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Antonio and Lingard seemed really impressive tonight how they worked together
I think so. We felt that if we could get Jesse it would give us more creativity. We asked Jarrod, Pablo Fornals, terribly. We said we brought in but I just felt like we could do a little bit more with the amount of games we have.
Of course we know we don’t have a striker, but if Micky continues to play in the form he played tonight he will be a threat to most people. I’m looking forward to getting him to regular football and Jesse is getting a little fitter. Micky Antonio is constantly improving his.
Hopefully we will keep them all fit until the end of the season. It would be great if we could.