West Ham United

West Ham United

Premier League • England

Moyes lays down Europa League marker with claim West Ham fans will love

West Ham manager David Moyes has spoken about Kurt Zouma

David Moyes insisted West Ham are a “big team” and that clubs across Europe will be “worried” about being drawn against his side in the Europa League.

A heavily changed and youthful West Ham side rounded out the Europa League group phase with a narrow 1-0 defeat to Dinamo Zagreb. With qualification to the knockout stages as group winners already secured, Moyes afforded several of the club’s brightest prospects their first taste of European action.

The Hammers were caught cold in the third minute when Mislav Orsic plundered a wonder goal from out wide.

None of the youngsters were at fault, however, with the experienced figure of Andriy Yarmolenko the guilty party when failing to get tight to the goalscorer from a throw-in.

West Ham steadied their ship, though couldn’t find an equaliser as Zagreb held on to secure second spot in the group.

Young stars did Moyes proud

Speaking in his post-match press conference (via the BBC), Moyes said: “I’m a winner and disappointed we didn’t get something out of the game.

“I thought the young players did really well and recovered after losing an early goal.

“I’m always happy to give young players a chance but they have to earn the right to play and none of them let us down – they did a great job.”

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On the rest of the tournament which could throw up tasty ties with the likes of Barcelona or Borussia Dortmund in the knockout rounds, Moyes added: “I’m really looking forward to it.

“At the start of the campaign if you had said we would have European football after Christmas I would’ve been really pleased, but to win the group was very good.

“At the moment West Ham are a big team and people will be worried about us. We’re a good team and if we can take on Champions League finalists [Man City] and winners [Chelsea] and give them a run for their money then whoever we get we will give them a good game.”

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“Bitter-sweet” comment shows Alese’s winning mentality

West Ham centre-back Aji Alese also spoke to BT Sport, and admitted his debut was bitter-sweet given a positive result wasn’t achieved.

He said: “It’s a little bitter-sweet. We’d have preferred to get a draw or a win but to play my first European game is an amazing achievement.

“We found out on Monday that we might be [playing]. We found out yesterday that we were definitely starting and from then we had to prepare and get our minds ready for the game.

“It was nerves at first but then I thought about it, my European debut with maybe 60,000 in the stadium, live on BT, then I got very excited.”

On playing alongside so many of his Under-23s teammates, Alese added: “We have played very well for the Under 23’s this season and we’re all good friends, so to do it with them is even better.

“Sometimes it can be hard when you feel you’re doing well and feel you might not get your chance. You just have to work hard, that’s all you can do.”

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