David Moyes has backed Said Benrahma to deliver for West Ham but has told the Algerian he needs to find more consistency in order to nail down a first-team place.
Benrahma, who made his loan from Brentford permanent in a £25million deal in January, made only his 12th Premier League start of the season in Monday’s 2-1 win at Burnley that strengthened the Hammers’ European push as they climbed to fifth.
Though Michail Antonio stole the headlines as he scored twice on his return from injury, Benrahma was a constant menace on the night.
He came close to scoring his first Premier League goal with a shot that curled narrowly wide while his cross for Antonio’s second might have crept in itself if left untouched.
“We just felt it was a game that was maybe suitable for Said,” Moyes said of his decision to start the 25-year-old.
“He did a lot of good things and there were a couple of things he didn’t do so well.
“We’re looking for consistency from him. He got a couple of chances to score and we hope a goal is coming.
“There’s a lot of belief in the boy, he’s maybe taken a little bit longer to settle for lots of reasons but he can come in now and help us a lot for the remaining four games.”
Antonio and Aaron Cresswell were both back from injury, but West Ham were without Mark Noble and Angelo Ogbonna through injury, with Moyes unable to say if the latter’s season might be over due to a hamstring problem.
“I would hope so,” Moyes said when asked if the Italian will feature again. “It’s disappointing we’ve lost both Mark Noble and Angelo Ogbonna who are both really experienced players for us at this stage of the season.
“It was good to get two back, and hopefully Angelo is not too bad and he’s not too far away for the remaining games.”
Antonio certainly delivered in his first appearance for a month, with Moyes’ only complaint being that the forward did not kill off the match as he passed up several opportunities for a hat-trick.
He was perhaps helped by some poor Burnley defending for the second goal as Antonio was the only West Ham player in a box crowded by Clarets defenders, yet he was somehow allowed to ghost through and meet Benrahma’s cross.
Coming on the counter-attack from a Burnley free-kick, the goal will have disappointed Sean Dyche, though the Burnley boss still felt positive about his side’s display.
“For the second goal we don’t put the ball in the box properly from a set play and they break from that,” he said.
“We actually recover but then we don’t react to the cross and we looked a bit surprised and they get a goal.
“They are a good outfit, sometimes you have to not accept it but hold your hands up because I thought they gave a strong performance.”
Chris Wood’s first-half penalty took the striker to 11 goals for the season, seven in his last seven and now directly involved in 10 of Burnley’s last 12, but both he and Dwight McNeil came off late in the second half.
“Woody got a knock but we think he’ll be OK,” Dyche said. “We saw him labouring a little bit and were going to leave him on but then we thought we have four important games coming as well.
“Dwight just because we felt he had come off his performance a little bit and Johann (Berg Gudmundsson) did affect it when he came on.
“I am not expecting any injury news out of that.”