12:30 p.m. August 3, 2022
West Ham United’s Vladimir Coufal is delighted to start the new Premier League season against Manchester City this weekend.
David Moyes’ men welcome the defending champions to the London Stadium on Sunday (4.30pm), having concluded their pre-season campaign with a goalless draw against RC Lens last weekend.
And Czech international Coufal says he can’t wait to start his third season at the club.
“It’s a good start to the season, almost the best team in the world,” he told whufc.com.
“We will see how good we are at the start of the new season.
“Of course I’m excited! I’m always excited to play Premier League games, especially at the London Stadium in front of our fans.
“I expect a very good atmosphere and I hope our fans will be our 12th player.”
Coufal underwent corrective hernia surgery in February but declared himself fit and ready for competition after another good job in France.
“I feel perfect now,” he added.
“I did a lot of work in pre-season. We had a very difficult pre-season and we are still a bit on our legs, so hopefully we will rest now and be ready for the game against Manchester City.”
Jarrod Bowen’s first-half brace put West Ham ahead against City in the relevant game towards the end of last season, but Pep Guardiola’s men were level again – with Coufal heading for his own net – before a late Riyah Mahrez penalty was saved by Lucasz Fabianski.
And although last Saturday’s clash in front of a crowd of 38,000 at Stade Bollaert-Delelis produced no goals, Coufal felt there were plenty of positives to take from it.
“They looked really good and very lively on the ball and without the ball their pressing was really unpleasant,” he said of RC Lens.
“Last week they beat Inter Milan, so they’re a good team and it was a good test for us.
“They were a different type of opponent in the Premier League, so lively and so lively, so we had to get used to it and I think after 15 or 20 minutes we did that and took control of the game. .
“The second half was not as we wanted, but I would say much better. We hit the bar, but they did too, so hopefully we are ready for Sunday.”
Coufal spent time at right-back and right-back during the contest, as Moyes changed tactics on a hot evening in northern France.
But the 29-year-old was happy with both, adding: “It doesn’t matter what position I play. The wing-back is more attacking but I also have work to do in defence.
“It’s not a big difference for me because I try to play very attacking from the back as well.
“Maybe it’s a little less difficult because at the back you’re always 1 v 1 for 90 minutes against a player. It’s up to the manager to decide how we’re going to play.”