David Moyes has urged West Ham to learn from Gent’s quarter-final clash with Eintracht Frankfurt
Avid Moyes has urged his West Ham side to learn from last season’s Europa League semi-final blowout, but warned: “I don’t want vanilla players.”
The Hammers will be looking to reach their second straight European semi-final when they host Belgian side Gent in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final on Thursday.
Last year’s remarkable run ended in anti-climactic style in the semi-finals against Eintracht Frankfurt, with Moyes’ side beaten within 60 seconds of a 2-1 home defeat, and then any hope of change was dashed by Aaron Cresswell’s red. map at the beginning of the second period.
The Irons’ slump was compounded when Moyes himself was sent off late on for throwing the ball away, and later Declan Rice was sent off for accusing a match official of taking a bribe in the tunnel.
Speaking at Ghent’s Gelamko Arena, Moyes suggested his players should be better prepared to keep their cool this time around, but insisted this should not come at the expense of intensity.
“Looking back, I want to learn,” Moyes said of last season’s failure. “After this game, I said we should learn from our mistakes. Some of us, myself included, made mistakes and made up for it, maybe one goal short in the first leg before the match even started.
“Emotions are something you never know what’s going to happen. In retrospect, I understand that, we faced it at times, but we have to make sure we are disciplined, calm.
“But we still want the players to be emotional, we want them to understand what it means, we want them to be motivated and want to impress. We don’t want vanilla players who won’t roll around, fight, fight, run hard, be competitive.
The Hammers travel to Belgium after allaying their Premier League relegation fears with a 1-0 win over Fulham on Saturday that lifted the club to 13th place, three points a game clear of the relegation zone.
“It’s really tough,” said Moyes, of the fightback and Hammers’ quest for European glory. “When you look at all the teams that play on Thursday, it’s very difficult to get a result on Sunday.
“It was a tough equalizing effort but hopefully we’ll be in that position for a few more games. What are you up to? You go into the next game, focus on it completely, do your best. you go to the next one to win.”
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