David Moyes wants the returning West Ham fans to prove the critics wrong by getting firmly behind the team.
The London Stadium will welcome a capacity 60,000 crowd for the first time since last February on Monday night when the Hammers host Leicester.
Yet some pundits suggested West Ham’s success last season – they had the second best home record in the Premier League – was down in part to not having supporters in the ground.
Sections of the Hammers’ fanbase have still not warmed to the former Olympic Stadium following the switch from Upton Park, while there remains some animosity towards owners David Sullivan and David Gold.
But Moyes is hoping those differences will be put aside and a notoriously demanding crowd will be more help than hindrance.
“If I am a West Ham supporter I am taking that as criticism and I am going to prove to you that the team will thrive and that we do support the team,” said the Hammers boss.
“It is going to be interesting. We played very well last year during lockdown. I believe we will continue to play well with the crowd or without the crowd, whatever we get.
“I think the crowd can make a big difference. We’ve got 60,000 back at the stadium and I am expecting them to get right behind the team and show their support.”
The fans will certainly be content if West Ham play like they did in the second half of last weekend’s 4-2 victory at Newcastle.
But Moyes admits he would be just as happy with a 1-0 win as they bid for a third straight success over the Foxes.
“I hope we’re the West Ham team that wins more than the others! I’d like to be a team of winners and winning more games than we lose,” he added.
“If we can do that in an entertaining fashion, scoring lots of goals, I’d be thrilled to do it. But ultimately winning’s my goal and I’m going to try to do that.”
Meanwhile, former Hammers striker Tony Cottee has backed a bid to take over the club by the PAI consortium.
Cottee said: “I’ve been following the bid closely and have had detailed discussions with the PAI team recently.
“Having got to know the people involved and having had the opportunity to learn more about their plans, I’m pleased to announce that I’m fully behind PAI’s bid.”
PAI are planning a second bid to buy the club, even though Sullivan and Gold say they have yet to receive a formal offer and have no intention of selling.