Graham Potter discusses Albion securing their Premier League status for the 2021/22 campaign, as well as his thoughts on David Moyes' team's impressive campaign in his programme notes ahead of tonight's match.
1901 Members, Season Ticket Holders and MyAlbion+ Members can access digital programmes on the day of the game for no extra charge by clicking here.
A warm welcome to David Moyes, the players and officials of West Ham United for tonight's game at the Amex.
As news broke on Monday night that our Premier League status had been confirmed for another season there was, of course, a sense of achievement and, indeed, relief, given the competitive nature of the division and the fine margins that exist. We know just how hard we’ve had to work to keep ourselves away from the bottom three this season and we’ve managed to do that.
Yet we are also aware that we are still only a relatively short way through our journey. The foundations are in place for all to see; but we also know there are areas where we need to improve, and we will look to make further improvements next season.
MA+ members & STH only - Log-in required
More immediately, though, our aim is to finish the current campaign as strongly as possible and to put more points on the board. We have three tough games in front of us, starting tonight with West Ham, who have had an excellent season. David Moyes’ name has been spoken about as a Manager of the Year contender and rightly so. He has done a wonderful job this season and is someone I respect and admire, both as a coach and a person.
His side are still very much in the shake-up for a European place so we know we will have to be at our very best to get back to winning ways this evening.
We were all disappointed that we didn’t come away from Molineux last Sunday with something to show for our efforts. I thought our first-half display was excellent; we created chances and took a deserved lead through Lewis Dunk's towering header.
Talking again about those fine margins, Lewis's red card certainly had a detrimental effect on our game. Going down to ten men at this level always makes life very difficult and Wolves took advantage. I thought we had done enough to hold out for a point, but it just wasn’t to be.
MA+ members & STH only - Log-in required
It was disappointing, not just because it would have given us even further daylight with the bottom three, but because we'd gone into the game full of confidence following our win against Leeds last time out at the Amex. We were worthy winners on the day, playing with real intensity and scoring an excellent second goal through Danny Welbeck. It was a superbly taken effort and I was delighted for Danny, given what he has brought to the squad this season both on and off the pitch. You could see from the reaction of the bench and players just what that goal meant to the group and it was just a shame we had no fans present.
Thankfully, we’ll have 8,000 here on Tuesday night and the players are really looking forward to playing in front of you again at the Amex. I know the lift they received from the 2,000 fans who were here for the Southampton and Sheffield United games, so I’m sure the atmosphere will be even better next week.
I must take this opportunity to congratulate Hope Powell, her backroom team and players for their excellent sixth-place finish in the WSL this season. It really is a fine achievement and shows the progress they are making year on year. Their form in 2021 has been outstanding and with Hope at the helm, the squad are in the best hands possible.
Congratulations, too, are extended to Mark Beard and our under-17s, who won the Premier League Cup recently, with victory at Middlesbrough. It’s always great to see one of our teams lift silverware and, as I’ve stated on many occasions, my coaching staff and I keep a close eye on all our young players, given they are the future of the club. We have a pathway to the first team here, so hopefully they will all continue to work hard as they continue on their journey with us.
Enjoy the game.