David Moyes is preparing for a tough game when West Ham visit Manchester United – especially given that Jesse Lingard will not be able to play.
Lingard has proven himself as one of Moyes’ key men since leaving the Red Devils for the Hammers on loan in January.
Premier League rules stipulate that he will not be able to play against his parent club on Sunday, though. That will add to the challenge for West Ham, who have already lost to Man Utd in the league and cup this season.
However, Moyes remains confident other players will be able to step up – and insists they haven’t been too far off their opponents in their previous meetings.
“He will be a big loss because he has had a big impact on the team,” Moyes said of Lingard. “But we have other people and we wanted competitions for places and Jesse has given us that.
“But we have got people who can do those jobs as well. We have played Man Utd twice already and we have lost but we have run them close, going to extra-time and the first one with a goal that should not have been given.”
Man Utd go into the game with absences of their own, mainly due to injuries. Marcus Rashford, Edinson Cavani, Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial are among those who will probably miss out.
Even so, Moyes echoed his comments about his own team by saying that the hosts have enough options elsewhere to cover. Hence, he knows how much it would mean to come away from Old Trafford with three points.
“If we could go to Old Trafford and pick up three points that would be an incredible achievement for us,” he said.
“It does not alter my thinking because of the squad depth. They have a very good team so we know whichever team they have it will be a very good team.”
Moyes sends Noble message
In the week leading up to the game, West Ham announced that captain Mark Noble will play on for one final season with the club next year.
Noble has been a loyal servant to the team for more than a decade, but has had to play a reduced role this season. Hence, he is approaching the end of his stint with the Hammers.
Moyes insists that the midfielder remains hugely important to the club.
“Mark’s decision will be if he wants to stay in the game next year,” he said. “Will Mark be involved with West Ham in some capacity for the rest of his life, I have no doubt. Whether it is in a coaching capacity or another one who knows.
“He was very very good at Old Trafford a month or so ago. I think his form has been great whenever he has played and has just struggled for a game because of the form of Tomas Soucek and Declan Rice.
“I have said many times Mark Noble will be around West Ham for as long as he chooses to be.
“I don’t want to rule out the fact that he won’t play further – I still hope that Mark continues to play if he chooses to do that.”