LONDON (Reuters) - West Ham United are not mathematically safe from relegation but barring something extraordinary their manager David Moyes has completed his second rescue job at the club in two years.
Friday’s 3-1 home win over Watford should be enough to ensure the Hammers remain in the top flight — and this time Moyes will surely be shown more gratitude by the club’s owners.
Two years ago, having picked up the pieces in the wake of Slaven Bilic’s sacking, Moyes was shown the door after securing survival with two games to spare and finishing 13th.
Admittedly then the Scot was on a short-term contract, and West Ham believed Manuel Pellegrini could take them to the next level — a belief that proved an illusion.
West Ham finished 10th last season under the Chilean but, despite a large outlay in the transfer market, found themselves in all-too-familiar territory last Christmas.
Pellegrini was sacked after a 2-1 defeat by Leicester City left them in 17th spot, one point above the relegation zone.
Moyes was not a popular choice among the West Ham faithful, but he answered the call and once again the Scot has galvanised the team, even if results have hardly been spectacular.
In fact, when West Ham lost their first two games after the restart of the Premier League, it meant they had lost seven of their last nine and relegation appeared likely.
Since then, however, wins over Chelsea, Norwich City and now Watford mean they are six points clear of the bottom three with two games left and they also boast a healthy goal difference compared to the teams below them.
Moyes is unlikely to be shown the door this time.
He looked a relieved man after first-half goals by Michail Antonio, Tomas Soucek and Declan Rice proved sufficient to see off a Watford side in a crucial relegation tussle.
“We started the game brilliantly well,” Moyes, who made his name at Everton before an all-too-short short spell at Manchester United as Alex Ferguson’s successor, told Sky Sports.
“Tonight we stood up to everything we got. First half performance was excellent and so was the second half on a defensive point of view.”
Moyes refused to say West Ham were safe, but acknowledged they were now in “a good position”.
“They say you need 40 points to stay up and we have 37, so if we can get another win we can say we did it off our own back and didn’t need anyone else to help us.”
Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Ken Ferris