David Moyes has been speaking to the media ahead of our UEFA Europa Conference League group-stage match with FCSB at London Stadium on Thursday.
The Hammers come into the match with two wins in Europe against Viborg FF as well as confidence from performances in London derbies against Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea.
David Moyes spoke about FCSB and how he plans to deal with a packed schedule, as well as how Lucas Paquetá and Flynn Downes are settling into their new club.
He also talked about the atmosphere at London Stadium on European nights and added that the players are looking forward to another European campaign.
I sense that all the players want to play in these European matches.
It’s brilliant for us. It really is. You work hard all last season to try and qualify for Europe. We have had unbelievable support at London Stadium. For a lot of the games in Europe last year, we had full houses for them – because they are such big nights for West Ham. Last season, we had some fabulous atmospheres in the stadium.
[The players] all want to be involved and play – and I think that is a great thing. It is difficult to assess [how far we will go]. We will have the same situation [as last season] with teams dropping down from the Europa League, so it is difficult to say at this stage – it is only when those teams drop down that you see it.
I am marking them all as a game we have to win whether home or away.
We have to try and do that. We start tomorrow night and we are looking forward to it. In footballing terms, many people will remember the name [of their precursor] Steaua Bucharest. We have got Anderlecht in the group, which will be remembered by people as well. We have a group with history in it.
For us, this is huge. If we had been in the Champions League and we were finding our way down – we might think different. I see this as two years in European football – I don’t think West Ham have done it back-to-back for I don’t know how long. We see it as part of the growth. I would like to be in the Champions League – and let’s be fair for long periods last season we were competing for the Champions League spot.
We have tried to get to know the FSCB players as well as we can.
Obviously, we have watched a lot of games. We have tried to get a better idea and understanding of FCSB. We know they have probably had a difficult start in the league but overall if you finish second in your league. A bit like us, we finished very strongly last year but have not started the league as well. We have recognised one or two players but I’m not going to tell you who that is.
I think everybody is hoping you qualify and then when it comes to the knockout games, they became the more exciting ones last season.
We enjoyed our experience last year getting through the group stage. We had really good victories and we won the group. I think we did a really good last year in winning the group and we will try and do the same again.
We will use our squad of players. If you look at how we worked last year we tended to have half the players playing, who were in and around the team. But this year could be different – we might approach it differently. Last year worked very well for us.
I think some games we will really concentrate on it and other games I feel as if we won’t be able to concentrate on it. A lot of that will depend on our league position, I will need to take those things into consideration.
Each and every year you get into Europe is really important.
We had a really good go at it last year. We celebrated this year, even being in the Conference League, we only missed out on the last day of the season. The second half of a game where we would have been in the Europa League. We pushed really hard – and we have ended up in the Conference League, and we want to have a go at that.
I watched the final last year – and I thought it was an excellent game. If you look at Jose Mourinho, who has won all the competitions, how big he felt it was. I would love to be in a position where I could try and attempt to win it – there are a lot of games to go before we can talk about that.
I have been really pleased with the business we have done.
We have signed some really good players. That has to show yet, nobody can say yes or no at the moment because you have to give them that time to gel, that time to settle in. I think on paper they look good signings. Young, hungry players, who I am hoping to develop and continue to improve.
Lucas Paquetá tackled and he worked really hard for the team.
I think that sometimes the players that come from South America are quite tough physically. His background where he has come from and shown you had to stand up and be strong enough and tough enough. It is a really good sign because in the Premier League you need to have a bit of that in you. He looks quite a robust player. I think if you look at his playing record over the years, he has played 40+ games just about in the last three four years wherever he has been. His playing record is pretty good as far as injury goes.
I am looking at Flynn with a chance.
He missed out with an infected toe in the last [European] game against Viborg. This could be an opportunity to give Flynn a game and get him a start. We will look at that closely. We have not completely got everything set – but he is certainly in my thoughts.
I was concerned about the last week.
The Chelsea game was put on the Saturday because Chelsea had a game on Tuesday. There is no point complaining anymore. There is no point in even mentioning in. We played Thursday-Sunday-Wednesday-Saturday. If you look at our programme it became so difficult. That is why we need the squad and that is why we need all those players fit because of the amount of games we have got. It does not get any easier as we go on.
I think we are due to play Bournemouth on a Monday night and on Thursday as well - and the Sunday. It is a long way away. We see that as completely unfair. Why would we be asked to play Monday night, Thursday night and Sunday? Just like this week, we have been asked to play Sunday, Wednesday, Saturday – and a Thursday as well. That is four games in nine days or something.
Last week was really tough but the effort the players put in right to end at Chelsea to nearly get something was great.