David Moyes was happy with the result, if not the all-round performance, as West Ham United scored a 2-0 UEFA Europa Conference League round of 16 first-leg victory at AEK Larnaca.
The Hammers were not at their best in Cyprus, but two moments of attacking quality brought two superb goals from Michail Antonio and a decent advantage to take back to London Stadium.
It could have been greater, too, but Antonio hit the inside of a post and substitute Paquetá was denied by goalkeeper Kenan Pirić.
That said, the Cypriot First Division title chasers also gave a good account of themselves, with substitutes Imad Faraj and Ivan Tričkovski forcing Alphonse Areola into second-half saves and AEK forcing 14 corners as they sought a goal of their own.
The Irons kept a welcome clean sheet, though, and bounced back from a disappointing Premier League defeat at Brighton & Hove Albion with a win that should help them reach a second consecutive European quarter-final.
It is now nine wins out of nine in the Conference League and manager Moyes is hoping his team can make it 15 out of 15 and lift the trophy in Prague on 7 June.
Two-nil is a good advantage to go back to London with and that’s nine European games we’ve won now, so it’s great credit to the players.
We weren’t at our best tonight, but we got the goals, which were all-important.
I didn’t like a lot of the performance but overall, it’s a cup competition and we had to win and giving ourselves a two-goal advantage going into the second leg at home, it’s not game over but it’s certainly given us a good advantage.
I didn’t think we played well enough in and around their box.
I didn’t think the forwards had enough moments again, but we tried to build up better and play better.
Saïd Benrahma puts in a good cross and Micky gets the header for his first goal and that gave us a real start, because even though we started the game quite well, we never penetrated them enough or really got in behind them.
In the end, I was really pleased to go in a couple of goals up at half-time.
I think being in this competition is something special.
Everybody wants to be in Europe and I remember when we got there a couple of years ago, how thrilled I was, the players were and the supporters were. Everybody was thrilled.
By the way, we had a really good crowd here tonight. This trip has been Cyprus and we’ve seen a lot of different places over the last couple of years – Croatia, Belgium, France or wherever we’ve been for games.
I’m pleased we’re able to give West Ham supporters European football and tonight was another decent win.
Flynn Downes has got a bit of cut [on his ankle] which might need a couple of stitches or gluing back together.
Micky just felt his calf but we were just making the change before he felt it, so we hope it’s nothing serious there.
Paquetá also felt his calf when he went through on goal but hopefully he’ll be OK.
If anybody thinks you’re going to come and turn people over in this competition, they’re incorrect.
I was looking through the group stages, when sometimes you could say the level of the teams is a bigger differential, but I didn’t see big results, people winning 5-0 or beating anybody 4-0 or something like that.
The group stages were really tight and when we got to this stage I didn’t expect to see any different, and that’s why next week the game will still be tight.
We hope we can get it and we had a couple of chances to get the third goal tonight and put the game to bed, but I have to say they played well and had a lot of free-kicks and corners in the game tonight.