Vladimír Coufal at Stamford Bridge

Coufal: I tried to watch every Premier League game last season

The commitment of Vladimír Coufal both on and off the field is unquestioned. 

Known for his battling tackles on the pitch, when the Czech Republic international has a break from the sport, his mind often wanders back to games - even after his match or training is over.

Such is his obsession with football that he wanted to watch every Premier League game last season.

Yes, every single one.

“I tried to,” Coufal says, smiling about his football-led TV schedule. “It is good, but sometimes my wife is upset. I tried to watch everything I could last season. I had one game on the TV, one game on a tablet and another two on my mobile phone.”

Vladimir Coufal trains in the gym

Coufal’s commitment to researching his opponent often paid dividends last season. Aside from the love for football, there is a tactical reason for the time spent in front of the television, especially with regards to one-to-one duels.

“I came to the Premier League, and I knew the players,” he explains. “But I didn’t know them personally. That is what I tried to learn from the TV. How do they behave in situations? I think it helped me a lot."

Coufal's hard-working ethos stems from his days in the Czech Republic, where players used to come in on off days to play football tennis or train in the gym.

Players such as the Hammers No5 have been key to Moyes’ transformation in east London. His work-rate has no doubt transpired on the pitch as the Hammers reached a UEFA Europa League semi-final last season and have started with two wins from two matches in the UEFA Europa Conference League group stage this time around.

The latest in those two victories secured by a perfectly timed tackle from Coufal, who is desperate to reach a European final in the Czech Republic. 

“To play European football every season is a big motivation,” Coufal says. “It’s very difficult to get to Europe from the Premier League. You need to be grateful [if you get there] and you need to take every game seriously.

“For me, a big motivation is to reach the Europa Conference League final because it is in my home country, in Prague, in the stadium of my former team. It is my big goal for this year – to reach the final.”

Vladimir Coufal and Tomas Soucek

After defeating Silkeborg IF, there is little sign of let-up in both the fixture list and Coufal’s football-led television schedule, as the Hammers are set to play nine matches in October, although right now the focus remains on a Premier League clash with Everton on Sunday.

West Ham’s last Premier League outing saw a close defeat to Chelsea, with Moyes’ men unfortunate to leave pointless after Maxwel Cornet’s effort was chalked off by VAR.

But Coufal is clear a positive mood remains in the camp. After all, the Hammers, who trained in Denmark on Friday before travelling back to England, won at Villa Park and were unlucky to get just a point from two hard-fought London derbies last month. They also recorded a league double over the Toffees last campaign. 

“I think we have a really good atmosphere in the changing room and on the pitch,” Coufal says. “Everyone knows that the situation is not good – we have four points. Everton is a very important game before the international break – and we have to win it.”