David Moyes faces growing dressing-room discontent over West Ham tactics | West Ham United

David Moyes faces a battle to quell growing discontent within his squad after West Ham’s relegation fears deepened with their 4-0 defeat at Brighton. The board have stood by Moyes, even though the shambolic performance on Saturday has caused alarm, and are hoping for a positive response.

West Ham, who are a point above the bottom three, will hope to shift the mood when they visit AEK Larnaca in the last 16 of the Europa Conference League on Thursday and host Aston Villa in the Premier League on Sunday.

Although Moyes has not lost the support of the hierarchy, his tactics are causing unease in the dressing room. It is understood some players have grown weary of his caution and feel it is holding them back. There is an increasing lack of faith in the approach favoured by Moyes, who has had little success with attempts to introduce a more attacking style this season.

It is understood there was unease after he named a defensive side when West Ham, who have scored 23 goals in 25 league games, visited Tottenham last month. It was felt that a cautious 5-3-2 gave them little chance of winning. West Ham lost 2-0 after barely creating any chances.

That defeat heightened the pressure on Moyes, but he responded with a more attacking lineup when West Ham defeated Nottingham Forest 4-0 at home a week later. The dressing room was exuberant after the game and it has been noted the team remain capable of producing positive performances for Moyes, who has inspired his side in must-win games against Forest and Everton.

There remains a desire for Moyes, who has helped West Ham to qualify for Europe in consecutive seasons, to turn the situation around. They have offered positive flashes recently. Draws with Newcastle and Chelsea were steps in the right direction last month. But they have not been able to build on the win over Forest. They exited the FA Cup despite playing well against Manchester United last week and were then outplayed by Brighton.

Declan Rice, the club captain, said after the Brighton game: “As a player I’m hurting. To be out there, it was demoralising, to stand there, to try to defend and see them keep the ball.”

The performance caused the travelling fans to lash out at Moyes. Part of the frustration is that West Ham, who reached the last four of the Europa League last season, spent more than £160m last summer in an attempt to challenge for Champions League qualification. Many of the signings have failed to impress and Moyes’s attempts to find a consistent XI have been hit by injuries.

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However, West Ham remain determined to give Moyes time. Part of their reasoning is that they are unable to identify suitable alternatives.

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