West Ham assistant manager Alan Irvine backs Said Benrahma to end goal drought

George Sessions, PA
·3 min read

West Ham assistant manager Alan Irvine is confident Said Benrahma will soon end his goal drought after he produced another blank despite an excellent performance in their 4-0 win over Doncaster.

The Hammers eased into the FA Cup fifth round with Pablo Fornals and Andriy Yarmolenko on target in the first half before Rovers defender Andy Butler put through his own net and debutant Oladapo Afolayan grabbed a fourth late on.

It was almost the perfect afternoon for the Premier League outfit, but Benrahma was unable to get off the mark for the club in his 13th appearance since an October switch from Brentford.

Algeria international Benrahma was a constant thorn in the visitors’ defence and assisted the second goal at the London Stadium and yet remains without a goal in almost four months.

Irvine said: “Along with everybody else, Said played very well and it would have been nice to top it up with a goal.

“He was keen with a couple of free-kicks but it was a good performance for him and the sooner he can get that goal the better.

“People know we brought Said here to create and score goals, that is the type of player he is.

“We are obviously hoping for him to do those things and he has created some goals, but he is desperate to get the first goal and once he does it will settle him down as well.”

With the Premier League side in control midway through the second half, David Moyes was able to hand out three debuts and Afolayan got off the mark on his first appearance for the club.

The ex-Solihull Moors forward tapped in from close range after Ryan Fredericks had been denied and it was his second game in successive days after he featured for the under-23s on Friday night.

“Fantastic to be through, fantastic to get the clean sheet and to score four goals,” Irvine added.

“It was great to give the three lads their debuts and great to see one of them score as well.”

With Michail Antonio an unused substitute, Yarmolenko was given the chance to lead the line and capped a good display with a fine chipped finish in the 32nd minute.

The West Ham number two said: “Yarma has played there before and he has shown if needed, he can do it. We know if we get him into those positions he can score because one on one he is a great finisher.”

Doncaster had won at Blackburn to set up a fourth-round clash at the London Stadium, but West Ham proved too good for them.

Boss Darren Moore was proud of his players though and urged them to learn from the 4-0 defeat and use those lessons in pursuit of promotion from Sky Bet League One.

“Ultimately we got punished by the real quality of the opposition we were up against,” the former West Brom manager admitted.

“We know what we are about and the key for us is continuously getting better and that is why I am looking at the game and thinking of playing against that level of opposition, for us as an aspiring side, we know where we can improve.

“We are on a journey, we have made huge strides and today would have been a massive lesson for us in continuing to get better.”