LONDON, Jan 26 ― Beaten West Ham United manager David Moyes conceded he was forced to make wholesale changes at halftime after his side's woeful start against Championship side West Bromwich Albion in the FA Cup fourth round at London Stadium yesterday.
But even the introduction of Mark Noble, Angelo Ogbonna and Michael Antonio failed to lift the three-times FA Cup winners, who were beaten 1-0 by a side led by former Hammers boss Slaven Bilic on his first return to the club who sacked him in 2017.
“We did not start the game well. We gave up opportunities in the early part of the game and they were better than us in the opening period,” said Moyes, whose team fell behind to Conor Townsend's ninth-minute opener.
“We were a bit fortunate we did not concede another goal but we got through to halftime and I made a decision to make a few changes.
“I had seen too many poor passes, too many balls being kicked off the pitch and not enough good play. We had to attempt to get through or at least get a draw but we were not quite able to get there.
“I think we had a lot of opportunities to have an attempt on target. We were in good positions to make it happen and we didn't, but they were better.”
Hammers were booed off at the interval and although they were slightly better in the second half, they still failed to score against an Albion side reduced to 10 men on 72 minutes by the dismissal of Semi Ajayi.
Moyes added: “If anything, their red card made it tighter, made it more difficult to get through. They did a good job but we had opportunities ― one fell to Mark Noble, a really good chance, but apart from that we did not have loads of opportunities.”
West Brom manager Bilic, however, was ecstatic with the performance of his second-tier side.
“We big-time deserved it, and it is a great win for us ― brilliant,” he said.
Moyes had been hoping a win might drip feed into West Ham's league form, as they have won just once in their last six matches.
“We put a strong team out. I was well aware it was a home tie so I wanted to try to make it work, but on the day we did not play well enough,” the Scot said.
West Ham now face a nightmare couple of weeks with games against league leaders Liverpool, twice, and Manchester City as they attempt to stop their slide into the relegation zone. Only goal difference is keeping them above 18th-placed Bournemouth. ― Reuters