David Moyes hails Leeds United and makes Marcelo Bielsa confession in outlining West Ham plan for Elland Road clash

Leeds United are yet to win this season - but West Ham boss David Moyes is expecting a stern test at Elland Road, facing a coach he admires.

By Lee Sobot
Friday, 24th September 2021, 4:04 pm

Moyes will take his Hammers side to Elland Road tomorrow, looking to complete a fine week after Wednesday night’s 1-0 victory at Manchester United in the Carabao Cup.

The Red Devils had condemned the London outfit to their first defeat of the new Premier League season just three days earlier after a 2-1 win at the London Stadium as Mark Noble saw a penalty saved deep in stoppage time.

It meant a first defeat in nine games for the Hammers who ended last season with seven points out of a possible nine in their last three games en route to a sixth-placed finish and qualification for the Europa League.

ADMIRATION: From West Ham boss David Moyes, left, for Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa, right, pictured during last December's Premier League clash at Elland Road. Photo by OLI SCARFF/POOL/AFP via Getty Images.

A fine campaign featured a double against newly-promoted Leeds via a 2-1 victory at Elland Road in December through strikes from Tomas Soucek and Angelo Ogbonna, followed by a 2-0 triumph in London as Manchester United loanee Jesse Lingard and Craig Dawson bagged a goal apiece.

Lingard has since returned to Old Trafford but the Hammers are again ticking along nicely, sitting eighth with eight points from five games.

Leeds have just three points to their name in their second season back in the big time following on from last season’s ninth-placed finish as a newly-promoted side.

The Whites ended the 2020-21 campaign just three places and six points behind the Europe bound-Hammers, and Moyes is reading little into United's winless start.

"I think if you’ve watched Leeds United’s games so far this season, everybody would say they’ve had a quite difficult start to the season with the games they’ve had," said Moyes at his pre-match press conference, as quoted by whufc.com"I’m a big admirer of their manager, Marcelo Bielsa, because of his record and the way his teams play. I think everybody enjoys watching Leeds United.

"They’re a great football club, Leeds, fantastically supported, so it’s a really tough game for us, it really is.

"The energy Leeds put into their games and how they go about winning is going to be a test for any team who play them, and it’ll certainly be a test for us."

Moyes’ side will be boosted by the return of star striker Michail Antonio who served a one-match ban for being sent off after a second booking in the goalless draw at Southampton.

Antonio was then on the scoresheet just five days later as the Hammers bagged a 2-0 victory at Dinamo Zagreb in their opening game of the Europa League group stage.

Defeat at home to the Red Devils followed before Wednesday’s Carabao Cup victory at Old Trafford, for which Moyes made ten changes to his side.

Now it’s back to the bread and butter of the league, in which the Hammers have netted 11 goals in five games, bettered only by Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United.

"We’ve got to go out there and do what West Ham have been doing recently, which is being positive, trying to score goals and having a strong defence," said Moyes.

We’ll need to be strong defensively because of the way that Leeds play; if you look at their play, most people would say they are a really positive team, so we have to think like that as well.

There’s two sides to it and we’re going to try and attack them and score when we can, and we’ll have another tough job in trying to defend against them."

Assessing the challenge of coming up against United's head coach, Moyes added: "I’ve always admired Marcelo Bielsa.

"I remember when he went to Athletic Bilbao and I went to watch his team against Manchester United. I saw how he played and I thought 'I’m going to have to try and play that way against United when we play them with Everton;, and we got a draw in that game.

"His teams have always got an incredible energy, and everyone is well aware of his man-to-man marking in many areas of the pitch.

"I think they’re more than that as well: I think they’re a really good passing team, and I don’t necessarily mean just short passing, but long passing as well, and for that I think their manager deserves a lot of credit because he’s done great work with them."

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Thank you Laura Collins