Vladimír Coufal in action against Arsenal

Coufal: We gave everything but conceded bad goals

Vladimír Coufal felt West Ham United only had themselves to blame after they fell to a frustrating 2-1 defeat to Arsenal on Sunday.

The Hammers more than matched their visitors in general play – enjoying the lion’s share of possession and territory – but gave up two goals from set-pieces as Arsenal took the points.

Coufal featured at right-back in a new-look defensive line, as a mixture of suspensions and injuries meant manager David Moyes deployed Aaron Cresswell at centre-back, yet Coufal felt – had it not been for a couple of avoidable moments – his team could have taken something from the game.

As it was, headers from Rob Holding and Gabriel meant Jarrod Bowen’s reply ultimately counted for little and the Czech Republic full-back says focus will quickly switch to Thursday’s UEFA Europa League semi-final second leg in Germany.

“We tried to do everything to get some points, but unfortunately we lost the game,” the No5 said.

“We gave everything, tried to run everywhere, tried to put crosses into the box, but we conceded two easy goals from set-pieces.”

Vladimir Coufal at the end of the game against Arsenal

Having swiftly cancelled out Holding’s opener through Bowen’s sharp finish – a goal laid on by Coufal – the Hammers looked to be well-placed to go on and put the Gunners under pressure.

So Gabriel’s matchwinner, which arrived nine minutes into the second period, only added to the frustration.

“It’s always perfect when your reaction is like that not too long after you’ve conceded, especially when it’s one minute before half-time,” Coufal continued.

“So it was the perfect time for an equalising goal and then we started perfectly in the second half to give ourselves a good position.

“But we conceded a bad second goal to give them the lead again.”

We gave everything, tried to run everywhere, tried to put crosses into the box, but we conceded two easy goals from set pieces
Vladimir Coufal

The defeat means the Hammers remain seventh in the Premier League table, three points above Wolverhampton Wanderers, who have a game in hand.

Coufal is acutely aware of the importance of staying above the Molineux club and securing a second straight European campaign.

“We are three points behind Manchester United and our position at the moment is the Conference League – that's not the Europa League but it’s European football so that would be good for us,” he continued.

“We need to keep pushing and finish this season as high as possible. The best way back in would be to win the Europa League because to bring the Champions League here would be a big dream for everybody at West Ham.”