O'Brien focused on second leg

Joey O'Brien will not let his concentration slip for the second leg against FC Lusitans

Joey O’Brien says West Ham United go into next week’s Europa League first qualifying round second leg against FC Lusitans in Andorra with a strong 3-0 lead but will be looking to make sure the job is done.

The Republic of Ireland defender said there are memories to be made, especially for the younger players in the squad, if they can progress further in the competition, but the team will be going over for the away leg to make sure they finish what they have started.

“We wanted to go out there win the game which we did [on Thursday], see how many we could get. We could’ve scored more. It was such a great atmosphere, with our fans and a packed stadium, we wanted to do as best we could for them.

“We will go over there now in similar fashion and make sure we finish what we have started here.”

O’Brien said the fantastic atmosphere created by the West Ham fans on Thursday was something he feels will stay in the player’s minds, especially younger players like Reece Oxford and Josh Cullen who were making their senior debuts.

“I played for Bolton when they were in Europe and they were some of the top nights, games to play in. You could have been playing a pre-season friendly in front of just a few thousand but it was great to play in front of full house at the Boleyn Ground on Thursday, our fans were fantastic.

“If you can get through the early rounds of the competition home and away, it stays with you forever.”

O’Brien said despite an early return to the pitch for the Hammers, there has been a nice mix of new manager Slaven Bilic coming in to meet everyone and Academy manager Terry Westley taking training and the team for these games.

“There has been a mix of senior lads and younger boys, it’s been really good. We came back and went straight over to Ireland for a training camp. Terry took the team and has done a great job with the lads.

“The manager has come in and spoken to all the lads. He came over to Ireland and saw us there, was here for the match and spoke to us all before and afterwards. He has also been over with the lads that are currently in Ireland.

“It’s a chance for him to have a look at everyone and everything, so it’s been good. He can see the younger lads, the boys who haven’t been playing as much and those who have. When a new manager comes in, there’s a new start on everything.”

O’Brien said that there is a lot to look forward at this early stage of the new season.

“Expectations get higher every year, to finish higher each time and the new manager will have that. It’s always been the same. We are going into the last season here [at the Boleyn Ground] and then into a new stadium, so there is a lot to go for.”