Kalvin Phillips: David Moyes does not fear fan backlash after West Ham confrontation

Phillips has endured a torrid time at West Ham thus far (Jonathan Brady/PA Wire)
Phillips has endured a torrid time at West Ham thus far (Jonathan Brady/PA Wire)

David Moyes insists he has no concerns over a backlash against Kalvin Phillips when West Ham host Tottenham on Tuesday night, despite the midfielder’s confrontation with a fan at Newcastle on Saturday.

Phillips came off the bench with the Hammers leading 3-1 at St. James’s Park, but conceded a penalty almost immediately to kickstart Newcastle’s remarkable comeback, Eddie Howe’s side claiming an unlikely victory with three goals in the final 13 minutes.

The error was the latest in a series of costly mistakes since the 28-year-old signed on loan from Manchester City in January and patience among many supporters is wearing thin.

In a video widely shared on social media on Saturday night, fans are heard heckling Phillips as he boards the team bus outside Newcastle’s ground. One supporter is heard to call him “useless”, to which the England international replies by raising his middle-finger through the coach windscreen.

However, when asked whether he had any fears over the state of Phillips’ relationship with the club’s fanbase, Moyes said: “[I’m] not worried one bit, no.”

Despite his poor form, Moyes may well be forced to turn to Phillips in the London derby, with star midfielder Edson Alvarez serving the second of a two-match ban.

"His job is to play but we also want the supporters to get behind all our players,” Moyes added. “It really is important. Sometimes when people are not playing so well they need support and they need everybody to get behind them.

“Let’s hope we can change his luck and his form between now and the end of the season.”

At the start of Phillips’ loan spell, Moyes warned that a player he has pursued for years would take time to rediscover his best form having been shut out of Pep Guardiola’s plans for so much of his 18 months at the Etihad.

With just eight Premier League games left, as well as a Europa League quarter-final tie with Bayer Leverkusen, Phillips is running out of time to make a positive impact and West Ham can ill-afford to carry a player so short on form heading into the run-in. Moyes, though, insists he will not hesitate to play the former Leeds man through his rough patch.

“The players have to show the manager when they get the opportunity,” Moyes added. “Kalvin Phillips is a really good player. He has not quite found it, but we hope that we will in the weeks and months to come.

"The balance can be difficult but we have also got a situation where we're without Edson. We weren't short but in central midfielders Kalvin is very much part of what we've got and we'll continue to use him if we need him, that is for sure.”