“We can go all the Wembley!” was the message from Martin Samuelsen after West Ham United under-21s beat Bristol Rovers 3-1 in the Checkatrade Trophy on Tuesday night.
The Hammers beat the League One outfit at the Memorial Stadium and in doing so, secured qualification through to the knockout rounds of the competition with a game to spare in Group C (South).
Two goals from Toni Martinez and one for the returning Samuelsen were the difference as the young Hammers made light work of a little-changed Bristol Rovers outfit.
“It was really good to win on the night and I’m really pleased with the team performance.” Samuelsen explained.
The Norwegian under-21 international was making his first start since late-September after injury forced him miss much of October, but slotted straight back into his familiar no.10 role behind Martinez up top. And from minute one he and fellow attacking midfielders, Sead Haksabanovic and Nathan Holland were a big threat.
I’ve scored those goals ten thousand times in training - worked on those types of shots, reacting quickly, so when I saw the ball I was confident I was going to score.
“I feel good, I got a little tired towards the end but I’m happy to score and I’m feeling good” he said.
“I’ve scored those goals ten thousand times in training - worked on those types of shots, reacting quickly, so when I saw the ball I was confident I was going to score.”
“We (Holland and Haksabanovic) enjoy playing with each other, we understand each others movements and I’m very happy to be playing with them.”
West Ham still have to visit Wycombe Wanderers in the group stages, but know that last night’s win has already secured their progression in to the Checkatrade Trophy latter stages.
The competition, which concludes with a Final at Wembley Stadium, featured just three U21 sides beyond the group stages in last year’s Southern draw but Samuelsen still has his eyes set on the big prize.
“I think we can go all the way and win it!” he exclaimed.
“That’s what we want to do, we’re not here to just play and take on these senior teams, we’re here to win. We’d love to go all the way to Wembley.”