'Fantastic' West Ham display a notable positive amid concerning Covid-19 times
Julian Taylor at the London Stadium
West Ham moved into the fourth round of the Carabao Cup with considerable ease – and assistant manager Alan Irvine was more than happy with the outcome.
The Hammers swept aside Hull City 5-1 at the London Stadium last night, with two goals each from Sebastien Haller and Andriy Yarmolenko, after Robert Snodgrass set them on their way early on. Such gulf in quality between the Premier League and League One was, predictably, plain to see.
The east Londoners, though, have other pressing matters away from the action. They find themselves as the latest club now obliged to cope with the direct ill-effects of Covid-19, with manager David Moyes and players, Josh Cullen and Issa Diop testing positive. All three were asymptomatic and went home straightaway before kick-off.
However West Ham now have a nervous wait to see if any more playing or coaching staff are subsequently afflicted with the virus in the coming days. It is indeed a possibility, given that Moyes, Cullen and Diop were mixing with the rest of the squad in the immediate run up to the third round tie. For the moment at least, Irvine has promised to inform Moyes of all the good news on the field.
In terms of making tracks in the Carabao Cup, racking up five goals against the diffident Tigers – who had knocked out Leeds United in the previous round - was a fine reward. The hard-working Hammers were simply clinical when it mattered, which left Irvine feeling buoyant.
He said: “I felt that right from the beginning of the game our work-rate was fantastic, our organization was fantastic, the way that players filled in for each other was great, and I said to them in the dressing room before the game that that work gives you the platform to show what you’re capable of doing.
“It was really good for us to get the number of goals we got tonight, and really good to get the number of players playing well that we did. When I speak to David later on, I will obviously be giving him a whole load of good news.”
Haller helped himself to another double after a similar feat against Charlton Athletic in the previous round. And both he and the impressive Yarmolenko are staking strong claims for regular starting berths at the London Stadium, with Wolves the next visitors for Sunday’s Premier League clash.
Irvine added: “These games are an opportunity for the boys who aren’t at the moment playing in the first-team starting eleven.
“They have to grab these opportunities when they come along, and I have to say they have done, as have a number of the other players.
“The fourth goal certainly killed them off and then, of course, the fifth goal was icing on the cake. Looking at the boys trying to get the ball back, they wanted another one, so that was very good. Everybody came through the game extremely well.
“Hull had a couple of good results to get here. They beat Leeds in the last round and they’ve had a very good start to the season, and they were in the Championship just last season. They haven’t been conceding goals, so for us to score five against them was fantastic.”