Stuart Pearce is hopeful his West Ham side can repeat their heroics from last season, with improvements from forward Saïd Benrahma expected to make up for a lack of transfer activity.
This season the Hammers make their return to European football for the first time since 2016/17, competing in the Europa League after an impressive campaign last time out.
David Moyes unexpectedly guided his team to sixth place in the Premier League, ahead of London rivals Tottenham and Arsenal in seventh and eighth, in a memorable campaign for the claret and blue side.
But despite extra games in the fixture list, West Ham have only made one new first-team signing, goalkeeper Alphonse Areola, who joins on a season-long loan from PSG with an option to buy.
Many fans, and likely club chiefs too, were hoping to get a deal over the line to bring back Jesse Lingard after his stunning loan spell from Manchester United – which was key in their lofty finish – but it appears the attacking midfielder looks set to stay with his parent club this term.
Even with the lack of activity, though, current first-team coach and England legend Stuart Pearce remains optimistic.
Speaking on the talkSPORT Breakfast, he said: “All we can do is try and achieve what we did last year.
“Dave [Moyes] only wants to bring players in that are better than what we’ve got, and if he feels as though he’s bringing bodies in for the sake of it to appease supporters, he’s a strong enough man not to do that.”
Loanee defender Craig Dawson has rejoined the club on a permanent deal, but despite strong links to Liverpool’s Nat Phillips and Chelsea’s Kurt Zouma, West Ham look set to start the season with the same back line.
“We’ve made bids for certain players and not been able to get one or two for varying reasons but a little bit of common sense has to come into it,” said Pearce.
“It’s very easy to go out there and fill your squad out with individuals, but the bottom line is: if they’re not good enough and better than what you’ve got, you’re better off sitting tight.”
West Ham have had little luck in the transfer market when it comes to signing strikers in recent years, but Algerian international Benrahma appears to have reversed the trend.
Pearce has high hopes for the former Brentford man in his second season, saying: “We’re expecting a lot from Said this year.
“Last year he was in and out a little bit and showed some really good flashes but once again we’re looking for a level of consistency, and he’s certainly got the ability to do that.
“We’ve not got a massive depth of squad players, and hopefully before the season starts we can bring a few faces in to enhance what we’ve got already, but the players that we have here have been fantastic.
“The important thing as well is not to block holes up for players like Saïd.
“We think we’re in a decent position at the moment, the club’s got solid foundations and we’ll add to it when it’s right and proper.”
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