David Moyes admitted he feared the worst as his West Ham side almost threw away another three-goal lead in their 3-2 win at Wolves on Monday night.
Jesse Lingard’s masterclass put the Hammers in pole position in the race for the Champions League.
Moyes’ side are four points behind third placed Leicester – who they host on Sunday – and a point ahead of Chelsea after taking advantage of the Blues’ shock defeat to West Brom.
Leander Dendoncker and Fabio Silva made the Hammers work, though, as they clung on for their first league double over Wolves in almost 100 years, having blown a 3-0 lead against Arsenal last time out.
Speaking after the game, Moyes told Sky Sports: “For a manager it is torture (game like that). Scoring three last week and three this, unfortunately conceding a few as well. It was really open. Both teams could have scored more.
“It felt like deja vu. We didn’t manage it too well. We were going to try and make it four instead of settling for 3-0 at half-time. Some of our play in the first half was scintillating. Jesse (Lingard) was fantastic. Michail Antonio played as well as he has for a long while for 30 minutes. Were not sure on the injury. We will assess it tomorrow. It looks like he’s felt his hamstring.”
On the race for top four, he added: “We have to go and take it on. Why not? I am hearing pundits talking about West Ham having a chance of Champions League. Nobody would have envisaged or mentioned that last season. Can we keep it going? We are going to try and compete with the big teams right until the end.”
The outstanding Lingard added: “It was a tough game. We had to work hard. We kept at it. I thought it would be another Arsenal, conceding just before half-time. But the lads kept their focus. We come out second half a bit better. It was about managing the game.”
On his goal, he added: “It was two versus two and we work on that in training, Michail took a man away with his run. There is always room for improvement. It is a great victory and we take the positives.”
As for his stunning return to form since his loan switch to Old Trafford, Lingard admitted: “It is consistency. I have not played much in the last two years so to play week in week out is good. The team help me.”
The Hammers moved back into the top four with the win, and Lingard believes they can stay there: “It is about maintaining and keeping focus. We have tough fixtures but the lads are ready.”