David Moyes says Cristiano Ronaldo is a killer – and he wants to turn Michail Antonio into one too.
As West Ham host Ronaldo at London Stadium, Antonio will be there to watch as he is given a ban for being a fool.
But Hammers boss Moyes reckons the club’s all-time top Premier League goalscorer can learn a lot from the Manchester United superstar.
Moyes said: “He’s an unbelievable sort of killer, as far as scoring goals. I’m hopeful that we can transform Mickey Antonio into a formidable goal scorer.
“Ronaldo started as a wide player, and ended up becoming a terrific number nine, so I hope that we can do the same with Mic in the years to come.
“Ronaldo is an excellent player he has brought another level of excitement to the Premier League, and we will do everything we can to keep him quiet.”
West Ham warmed up for the game with Antonio and United target Declan Rice both scoring in a 2-0 Europa League win over Dinamo Zagreb.
They are yet to lose this season and look like building on last term’s sixth-placed finish, with new boy Kurt Zouma pushing to start against United.
Zouma was solid as a rock on his debut against Dinamo and could keep his place for the of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men.
Moyes said: “Kurt Zouma was very good, it looked as if it was a comfortable game for him.
“He’s been involved in European football for most of his career at a good level so I hope that he can bring us some experience.”
Moyes remains interested in United misfit Jesse Lingard, who was electric on loan with the Hammers last season.
Can Michail Antonio compete with Cristiano Ronaldo for a top spot in this season’s Golden Boot? Leave a comment below.
But the West Ham boss revealed he gave up on trying to sign him this summer after one-to-one talks with Solskjaer early in the window.
Moyes said: “Ole made it clear to me quite early in the transfer window that he wanted to keep him.
“So I knew pretty early in the window that he was staying at United. I had a private conversation with Ole who made it clear that he was staying.
“It may change. I can’t talk about players from other clubs because that’s not really the way we do it.
“But because Jesse was part of our club for a wee while all I can say is that he made a massive contribution to the team.
“I hope Jesse will look at how well the players treated him and made him welcome. He was great for us.”
Moyes admits he still looks back on his time at Old Trafford with regrets after being sacked just 10 months into the job in 2014.
He said: “I do think back to that because I see it as a huge opportunity to manage the biggest club in the world. I don’t blame anybody else bar myself.
“I needed to win more games. If you manage the biggest club in the world then you have to win the games and unfortunately, I didn’t win enough.
“But Ole is doing a really good job. I think all managers at any club would always ask for some time.
“If you can get that chance then it certainly helps you to build your squad and let you put your thoughts over to the team.”
West Ham (4-2-3-1): Fabianski; Coufal, Ogbonna, Zouma, Cresswell; Rice, Soucek; Bowen, Benrahma, Fornals; Yarmolenko