West Ham manager David Moyes believes the club is on a ‘fast train to the top’ after starting this season in the same excellent form in which they finished last season.
After 10 games of the 2021/22 Premier League campaign, the Hammers have the same record as reigning champions Manchester City. They are currently occupying a Champions League spot, sitting within one win of second place with a three point cushion ahead of fifth.
For Moyes, who celebrates his 1,000th game as a manager on Thursday night when his team faces Genk in the Europa League, he is enjoying a better win percentage in his second spell in east London than he had during the decade-long spell at Everton that made him.
West Ham have come a long way under his guidance in such a rapid period of time. His first remit upon taking over midway through the 2019/20 was to avoid relegation. His first full season in charge then produced a sixth place finish, the club’s best since 1999.
Even with Europa League football now on the agenda, the standards haven’t slipped as might have been expected. The Hammers have struck a perfect balance between domestic and European commitments, winning each of their first three games in the Europa League. They have also become the first team since 2016 to knock Manchester City out of the EFL Cup.
Moyes admits that fans might have been happy with this progress coming over six years, but the fact it has happened in only two is quite remarkable and a testament to his management.
"If it had taken West Ham six years to get to this point [instead of two], West Ham supporters would probably have accepted it," the Scot said, via BBC Sport.
“Now we have to keep it going. Keep challenging, keep chipping away at it. We're on the fast train to the top and I don't want to get off.”
Moyes’ name was built on his success at Everton. In 11 full seasons, only twice did his team ever fail to finish outside the Premier League top eight, with five of those seasons bring a top-six finish.
Yet his reputation took a battering when his time at Manchester United went badly wrong and he was sacked only 10 months into a six-year contract, having been hand-picked by the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson to succeed him and the weight of expectation that came with it.
Difficult spells at Real Sociedad and Sunderland arguably only did more damage, while his first spell at West Ham ended briefly after not being offered an extension on his short-term contract.
“Even with 1,000 games you cannot - just once - say 'this is it, I have got the job now, that's me' because the game will come back and get you if you don't keep trying to improve and challenge yourself,” Moyes explained, reflecting on his career to date.
"You need people around you doing it as well and we are really fortunate to have Declan Rice, as a player who is driving the team on and making West Ham noticeable again.
"West Ham is a good club for me and I am really grateful to the owners for bringing me back. Sometimes it's very hard to fight back but the owners have given me a chance and I am going to keep throwing some punches.”