Moyes tells Europa League opponents what to expect from West Ham but turns attention to Tottenham
David Moyes has promised that West Ham are there to “challenge the best” in the Europa League – but his full focus for now is on their Premier League duties.
West Ham are on a high after beating Sevilla in the Round of 16 of Europe’s secondary tournament. They cancelled out Sevilla’s 1-0 lead from the first leg thanks to a goal from Tomas Soucek. Then, Andriy Yarmolenko scored a winner in extra time to make it a memorable night.
Friday’s draw will tell West Ham who they are playing in the quarter-finals. Before that, manager Moyes had some further press duties to fulfil in advance of their next league match against Tottenham Hotspur.
Even so, the attention was beginning to drift to who could be next in their European adventure. Moyes was asked if other clubs will fear West Ham, but he can see the bigger picture.
Moyes told a press conference: “They might all want to play West Ham because they see us as novices in this competition. They might see us as a side without much experience in Europe.
“I think if you’re going to play us, you know you’re in for a game. We always want to challenge the best teams and we are certainly getting a good group of teams now and we challenged a really good team last night against Sevilla and over the two legs just about did it.
“Whoever we get, we’re looking forward to it. We’ll challenge anybody who comes along.
“After seeing London Stadium the way it was last night, it would be good to have the second leg at home. I think that would be very good for us.”
Despite the prospect of another big European night, Moyes is prioritising the Premier League. In that regard, an important game against fellow European challengers Tottenham is coming up.
‘Priority is the Premier League’
Asked about the importance of Sunday’s game, he replied: “They’re all important, whether it is a team at the bottom or the top. It’s a derby for West Ham and Tottenham, so we know it’ll be a difficult game.
“Always the priority is the Premier league. Where you finish in the league gets you the chance to qualify for Europe if you do well. It’s your bread and butter as far as I’m concerned.
“Being in cup competitions adds to what we’re trying to do and teaches us how to be better, make strides forward. At the moment, we’ve got a big game coming up. It’s a hard game – and we know we’re going to be tested to the maximum.”
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Tottenham last played on Wednesday, meaning they have had one more day of rest. However, Moyes knows that while that benefits the opponents, it is also a side-effect he is happy to deal with due to their European journey.
He said: “We’re a resilient group of players and we hope that we’ll all be fine and we’ll go again.
“I think an extra day would help anybody. But we’re pleased we’re in the Europa League and that we’ve qualified. I’d have taken that any day and now we’ll get ready for the Tottenham game.”
Moyes coy over Tottenham team news
After Yarmolenko scored his second goal in two games since his return to action, Moyes was asked if there is a temptation to start him against Tottenham.
His response gave no indication either way, although he was praiseworthy of the forward’s contributions.
Moyes said: “He’s been really important to us in the last two games. He’s scored two vital goals.
“There’s no doubting the quality he’s got. He is a really good footballer and we’re pleased he’s helping the team with the contributions he’s making at this time.”
Another vital player for the Hammers is Declan Rice. The midfielder appeared to be limping after the win over Sevilla. Therefore, he is in doubt for the match on Sunday as things stand.
Moyes will make further assessments on all his players after training.
He explained: “We have a few limping but you expect that from a tough game and we’ll assess them all this morning and see how they are. It’s a bit early to know a lot about the team.”
READ MORE: Declan Rice sends West Ham warning to Barcelona, Europa League rivals ahead of last-eight draw