Vladimír Coufal

Coufal: Recovery will be key ahead of our semi-final

West Ham United players and staff will need to recover quickly from their weekend exertions against Arsenal, according to Vladimír Coufal.

The 29-year-old has made his first back-to-back Premier League starts since February over the last two weekends and, with manager David Moyes confirming fellow right-back Ben Johnson missed the 2-1 defeat on Sunday with a thigh strain, could be called upon again in midweek.

The occasion will be grand: the decisive second leg of the Hammers’ first major European semi-final since 1976, against Eintracht Frankfurt at Deutsche Bank Park.

The task will be challenging: the Irons head into the UEFA Europa League second leg with work to do, having lost the first leg to their Bundesliga opposition 2-1 on home soil.

And yet Coufal will remain unfazed.

The Czech defender has prior experience of big European occasions, having reached the quarter-finals of the competition with Slavia Prague three years ago, and indeed helped his former side achieve positive results away at the likes of Barcelona and Inter Milan in the Champions League the season prior.

And a swift recovery from the Arsenal match, focusing on the task at hand on Thursday, will be pivotal to the Hammers’ preparations, Coufal told West Ham TV. 

It was difficult to accept the result against Arsenal because, in my opinion, we played quite well. 

We had a good position. We put many crosses into the box but unfortunately we conceded two easy goals. 

We missed a little bit of quality in the final third – a surprise pass or something into the box – and maybe some crosses missed by a few centimetres, but football is about [avoiding] mistakes and having a bit of luck. Arsenal were a bit luckier than us.

There’s a lot to learn from it, but we put a lot of effort in on the pitch and it was an unfortunate result, I would say.

We conceded two easy goals from set-pieces. 

We put a lot of energy in on the pitch on Sunday, but now we need to have a quick recovery, because everybody knows what is ahead of us.

Vladimir Coufal

Jarrod [Bowen, who scored against Arsenal] is on fire.

He’s playing in good form and hopefully he’s going to add another goal on Thursday.

It’s a huge game on Thursday for all West Ham fans, all the players and all the staff here.

We know they [Eintracht Frankfurt] are a big team. It will be a special game in Frankfurt because with their fans, it’s going to be an unbelievable atmosphere there. 

We need to be ready for everything. We need to be careful of their counter-attacks and set-pieces. They have big quality in their crosses, so it will be a similar game to the one at London Stadium, but we know we need to win by more than one goal.

I need to say the atmosphere was really, really good at London Stadium on Sunday. 

The fans supported us the whole 90 minutes and hopefully, hopefully, we will be ready to deliver a positive result for them on Thursday.

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