Jarrod Bowen was delighted that West Ham United secured their place in the UEFA Europa Conference League knockouts with a hard-fought 2-1 win over RSC Anderlecht at London Stadium on Thursday night.
After beating the Belgian side 1-0 in the reverse fixture, David Moyes’ men secured a fourth straight win in Group B thanks to first-half goals from Saïd Benrahma and later Bowen.
The Hammers No20 found the top corner from the edge of the area with his fifth goal in all competitions this campaign. His third strike in his last four matches was his record-equalling sixth European goal for the Club - he is now level for European goals with David Cross and Johnny Byrne.
“I have just been told about that record,” Bowen said, smiling. “So hopefully there are many more years of European football, and I can keep scoring and setting records.”
Of course, Bowen was happy to be on the scoresheet, but the result was the most important factor tonight.
The Hammers’ fourth consecutive triumph in Group B made it six victories in seven matches in all competitions, and most pertinently secured post-Christmas European football.
Now, the challenge is to keep the momentum going, as West Ham need just one point from their last two group-stage matches to clinch top-spot and direct progression to round of 16.
“Confidence comes from winning football games,” he said. “Then you have momentum going into the next game.
“We’ve got a good spirit in this group. We know the quality that we've got in here. And it's only a matter of time before it started turning for us. This is what we expect of each other, what we demand as a group.
“The next [group stage] game now is a big game for us. We know it's going to be a difficult game. But we've won four out of four, which is great for us as a Club. Going into the next game we will be full of confidence.”
Ahead of Anderlecht’s trip to London Stadium, Moyes made eight chances from the side that defeated Fulham 3-1 on Sunday.
Bowen, who was retained alongside Lucas Paquetá and Aaron Cresswell, praised the Hammers’ strength in depth as the reason they have been able to compete domestically and in Europe over the last few weeks.
“The quality brought in this summer has got us fighting for places,” Bowen added. “You see that every day in training; everyone's at it because if you're not at the level required, the manager is going to choose someone else.
“It’s good for us players to have that competition because it keeps you at that level. You're going into the game off a week of intense training.”