Wolves heap pressure on David Moyes after Podence sinks West Ham | Premier League

It was a very lonely walk down the tunnel at full time for David Moyes, the West Ham manager determined to put on a brave face amid an alarming run that has culminated in them dropping into the relegation zone at the halfway point of the Premier League season. Defeat at Wolves means West Ham have taken one point from the last possible 21 and won one of their past 10 league matches, at home to Bournemouth in October. Moyes faced – and undoubtedly – ​​heard the music as he applauded the away fans after the final whistle. West Ham invested almost £170m in the squad last summer after again qualifying for European competition but the hierarchy did not envisage dicing with the prospect of playing in the Championship next season.

West Ham’s superior goal difference is the sole reason they are not bottom of the pile and the board’s patience and commitment to Moyes, who plainly acknowledged he is under pressure, is being seriously tested. West Ham’s next match, at home to Everton on Saturday, has taken on great significance – for both clubs and both of their managers. “What we’ve given West Ham supporters in the last few years, I hope they can give us back,” Moyes said, aware of how volatile the mood may be at the London Stadium. “We are in a difficult period. If they give us back everything the staff and the players have given the club in the last couple of years then I’m sure that will help us. You always want the backing of your home support and we’ve always had it. Let’s hope that continues.”

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    Wolves jumped out of the relegation zone at West Ham’s expense after Daniel Podence struck the only goal in a game light on quality. Wolves went for the jugular as the game ticked towards the final whistle, with the again impressive Rúben Neves clattering the upright with a delicious right-foot strike, though Wolves had to withstand some late West Ham pressure. The substitutes Gianluca Scamacca and Saïd Benrahma combined but the latter’s shot dribbled towards José Sá in the Wolves goal and then the West Ham captain, Declan Rice, shot off target. There were gasps as the fourth official, Craig Pawson, indicated six minutes of second-half stoppage time but the glum expressions on the faces of those of a West Ham persuasion at full time said everything.

    West Ham's manager David Moyes reacts during their defeat to Wolves
    West Ham’s manager David Moyes reacts during their defeat to Wolves. Photograph: Rui Vieira/AP

    Moyes conceded his team were not clean nor clinical in the final third but the West Ham manager was not interested in making excuses. Moyes must have been tempted to stress the absence of defender Craig Dawson, omitted from his squad amid an offer from Wolves, and while Moyes acknowledged the situation has been unsettling, he knows his team are lacking quality across the pitch. “We have probably risen expectations greatly in the last few years, being in Europe, 6th and 7th in the Premier League in the last two years,” Moyes said. “I can understand disappointment and understand frustration and maybe they [fans] cannot quite understand why it is quite like this.”

    Wolves are only two points above the bottom three but appear rejuvenated, in a good place under Julen Lopetegui, who cherished the importance of his first league clean sheet. The reality is the Wolves goal was never put under any great strain, something that irked Moyes. Wolves’s uplift under Lopetegui continues but things do not get any easier. They host Liverpool in a FA Cup replay on Tuesday before a trip to Manchester City and another Liverpool visit in the league. “We celebrate for two hours and tomorrow we are thinking about how to play Liverpool,” Lopetegui said.

    A season ticket at Molineux has offered little value for money this season – only Gillingham, bottom of the Football League, have scored fewer league goals than Wolves – but the sight of Podence striking a sweet winner, his third goal in five games, will have made amends for some of the more painful days. Podence’s goal was Wolves’ sixth at home this season and it was one that will eat away at Moyes given it stemmed from a West Ham corner. Aaron Cresswell cut out Matheus Nunes’s pass but his clearance fell kindly for Podence to rattle in a first-time shot. “You’ve got to win games in this industry and I’m not winning enough games,” Moyes said. “I’m not stupid.”

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