David Moyes pleaded for perspective after watching his West Ham team slump to a 6-0 defeat against Arsenal at the London Stadium, a performance he said was shaped by defensive weakness and a lack of fight.
The result equalled the club’s heaviest home defeat in the league – the 8-2 reverse against Blackburn in 1963 – and had supporters streaming for the exits, most obviously after the former West Ham captain Declan Rice had scored the sixth on 65 minutes.
Moyes struggled to find the right words, at times, as he picked over the wreckage but he urged fans to remember the progress he had overseen, taking in the Europa Conference League triumph last season. West Ham remain eighth in the Premier League and are into the knockout rounds of the Europa League.
“At the end of December, we won 2-0 at Arsenal so you must not forget that you’re looking at Arsenal today and a few weeks ago it was us,” Moyes said. “To be a football supporter, especially at this club … I came back twice to get them out of relegation … there’s always going to be bad times.
“Let’s be fair, over the last three years it’s been the best time West Ham have ever had. Sixth and seventh in the league, semi-final of the Europa League, a final of a European cup competition and I still think this club has grown.
“Undoubtedly, we’ve had a terrible day today and I understand them [the fans] leaving but sometimes at football clubs you are going to have bad days. Today we had a bad day and I certainly won’t forget the good ones.
“The disappointing thing for me is I don’t think since I’ve come back to the club … I don’t think my team has defended in that way. Ever. We were weak, we didn’t do our jobs well enough. We didn’t fight to contain it harder and make sure that we didn’t concede and we could have conceded other goals as well. Maybe I’ve had teams here which haven’t had the same quality as what we’ve had here but we would have made sure we didn’t put in a performance like that – that’s for sure.”
Bukayo Saka, who scored two of Arsenal’s goals to pass 50 for the club, said: “We smelt blood today and went for the kill. We could have scored more, including myself. I’m proud to score 50 goals for Arsenal but I can’t be completely happy when I miss chances like I did.”