Watford 2, West Ham 0
West Ham manager David Moyes admits that his new team are suffering from a crisis of confidence after they were swept aside by a vibrant Watford in his first match in charge.
Goals in each half from midfielder Will Hughes and forward Richarlison ended the Hornets’s three-game losing sequence and lifted them to eighth in the Premier League.
Home goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes made close-range saves to prevent Cheikhou Kouyate and Marko Arnautovic equalising for the Hammers before half-time and Moyes said those moments highlighted their fragile self-belief.
“I found that out today. I was only ever going to find out what they were like when I took them and worked with them and more importantly saw the game today,” said the Scot, whose team remain 18th.
“They needed a couple of things to go for them and the big moments we had – a couple in the first half and one just after half-time – when they didn’t go for us I could see the confidence draining away from them.
“The better team won the game but there was a chance to change the outcome and we didn’t do it. We’re going to have to improve. Hopefully we’ll get a chance to work with them over the coming weeks and make a difference.”
Watford manager Marco Silva, meanwhile, insisted he had not been distracted by interest from Everton, who have had an approach rebuffed by Vicarage Road chiefs, but stayed coy on his future.
“My future is tomorrow, start to prepare the next game. This is my future,” he said.
“Some things we can’t control. In football, everything can happen when the team performs well. Sometimes when the team doesn’t perform well everything can happen as well. I know what is in my hands and in my hands is to plan the session tomorrow and we’ll see what happens in the future.”
Former England under-21 midfielder Hughes, an £8m summer signing from Derby, was named man of the match on only his second top-flight start. He put the hosts in front on 11 minutes when striker Andre Gray’s shot fell into his path and he spun and fired first time past Joe Hart.
Hart saved well from Richarlison’s low shot and saw right-back Kiko Femenia’s drilled follow-up fly just inches wide before West Ham severely tested his opposite number Gomes.
But when Kouyate burst onto Mark Noble’s through-ball Gomes was out quickly to thwart and the Brazilian topped that with a brilliant double save to keep out Arnautovic’s header and his prodded follow-up.
Watford pinned West Ham in their own half for much of the second period and Hart had to fling himself low to halt Adrian Mariappa’s header before Silva’s men struck again.
The second goal duly came from Richarlison, the 20-year-old Brazilian gathering Hughes’s pass and running at Winston Reid before firing low across Hart for his fifth goal in 12 league games since arriving from Fluminense.