Every word David Moyes has said about West Ham v Lyon, Jarrod Bowen and Vladimir Coufal are injury concerns
How do you find the balance between the competitions?
We can only watch each other and try to win the next game. We have a really big game now against Lyon, so we’re focused on that and hope the race continues. We really enjoy being in the competition. Last year when we qualified we were thrilled. We’re doing well and really enjoying it. We want to try to continue.
How do you deal with requests? News from the team?
We are really excited to be in this competition. Reaching the quarter-finals of a European competition is a big deal for any club. Maybe even more for us because we weren’t expected to be there last season. The race we did is very good, may it continue for a long time. Jarrod Bowen is trained, he seems fine. He was involved in the game, had no other injuries. Expect him to be fine.
Took the Europa League seriously from the start. Thinking beyond Lyon and wondering what is possible?
Do not think beyond Lyon for the moment. We take every competition seriously, treat them all with equal importance. This one is obviously more special, being among teams we haven’t had in years is really important. Two years ago they were in the semi-finals of the Champions League. We’d be crazy to think beyond that first game. It will be different, different connotations from what we had in the first leg against Sevilla. We have to understand this. The fans too. It’s a different setup to be at home in the first leg of a quarter-final. The game could be slightly different.
READ MORE: West Ham star’s England call as long wait ends
Dynamic of being home first?
It’s really important not to try to lose tomorrow. The difference coming back from Sevilla was that we knew we had a goal, something to try and beat. Could we do it? No one was quite sure, but we did. The difference with that is that we are about to begin. Lyon won’t know much about us, we don’t know much about them. Sometimes you have to wait for the second game to know a little more about the other. In the first game we want to try to play, but also be aware that there is another game to come after.
They have familiar players – Dembele, Ndombele?
When I say I don’t know, I mean we haven’t seen them. We know them as individuals, we have watched them but we will know a lot more after playing the first game. Same for us and for them. We are really looking forward to it. I want to continue this race if we can.
Any other injury concerns? Is Ben Johnson in good shape?
Ben Johnson is formed. I hope he will be fine. vladimir [Coufal], we are not totally convinced that it is 100% so it may need more time. Lanzini is suspended but trained for the first time today. We seem to be OK.
Have you banned talking about Barcelona?
We didn’t talk a minute more than in Lyon. How dare we? It’s too big a game against too big a club. We are facing a really strong team. We find that we wouldn’t even think about it. None of us would consider it. We have just faced Everton, we also have a league game next week. One game at a time. It’s sad but that’s all.
Difficult to keep players focused?
It’s great, we have excitement. It’s great that we have raised the level of expectation. We talk about West Ham more than ever before. If you want to keep pace with top teams, you mainly need to win domestic games. We have to make sure we stay focused on all of them. We are not just focusing on the UEFA Cup.
What do you think of being the favourite?
I am happy. If you are the favorites of the bookmakers, they make more money than they lose I think. If you want to be that, you have to earn it and show it. But I find it difficult because we are relatively new and Lyon are a very big football club. They had some changes but it is a very big football club. We will have our work cut out.
Do you have to be smart, mature, smart, disciplined, not get fired up in the first leg?
Yes. I think all of those things are what we need to be. We found out a bit about the Sevilla game, how could we deal with it, how could our mentality be. Could we play properly without conceding a goal? I think there are a lot of aspects that need to be taken into account. Having that experience over the years makes a big difference, you know how to do it or what is expected. We haven’t really had that, but what I have is a team with more international players than we’ve ever had at West Ham, who regularly play for their international teams. All that experience – the Czech boys played for Slavia in the Champions League, so a lot of the boys have had European experience, so hopefully they can bring that to the table and help us, in a slightly different game from what Sevilla’s game was. We have to make sure we manage that.
What boost for Bowen’s return?
Really good, we got it back. He scored a goal for us on Sunday. He played a huge role. Who knows if he would have been in the England squad or not. It’s really a shame that he missed the opportunity to find out. He’s been really good to us. I’m not worried about his physical condition. Sometimes the first return match is OK but it’s the next one or two that are harder. I hope he does well in whatever he does.
What does it give you?
He offers us width but he is also someone who can score goals. Having these players these days – it was always the 9s that scored, but these days people are scoring from inside left, right. He has improved as an all-around footballer. His positioning, the work he does for the team. He has improved greatly. He was slow to leave the Championship to become a Premier League player. His contribution was excellent.
Should the atmosphere be like Seville again?
It will be different. We had something to hunt, the crowd knew what we had to do. It’s a different game. I’m talking about our players but our public too. There are two games here. We need them behind us, but now we need them to realize that we can’t jump in and try to win the game in the first few minutes. It’s less likely on the teams you play.
You just knocked out Sevilla, want the players to strut in a good?
We have. I know exactly what we have. I may not tell you exactly what I have, but I know exactly what I have. But I know what I’m aiming for and what I want the result to be. But if we’re honestly talking about a club in Europe, we’re new boys on the block. UEFA probably didn’t expect West Ham to be at this stage, but that’s what is happening… We want to show we can challenge. If we’re at our best, we’re on par with most teams. We can be.
Lyon more intimidated now that you have beaten Sevilla?
We beat Liverpool at home but also lost to Brentford. You can beat big teams in a single game. Winning any game is so hard. We take nothing for granted. Each match is incredibly difficult. Lyon is a team for which we have a lot of respect. Most people would consider them more of a Champions League team than a European side. I remember seeing them working for UEFA against Juventus two or three years ago. Not so long ago they were really challenging the best.
Lyon could use their new signing Tete tomorrow night. He was signed on an emergency loan from Shakhtar Donetsk and is eligible to play in Europe. Premier League clubs have been banned from signing Ukrainian or Russian players. Does it frustrate you that Lyon were able to use this loophole to their advantage when a club like you didn’t, especially as it could make the difference in this quarter-final?
He’s also a good player, they’ve signed a good player, which is something that… by the way, we would really like to support all players based in Ukraine and give them opportunities to play, we really would, but I’m not sure… I think it might have been more accurate to say that they couldn’t participate in European competitions at this stage. I think they can go and play there, but the Premier League hasn’t allowed us to do that yet, France and UEFA have allowed it. Maybe it’s the FA or the Premier League here that haven’t allowed us those same arrangements as, say, another country.
Are you frustrated knowing that this could have an impact on this game?
I just have to keep going. I do not think about it. I couldn’t tell if I was frustrated or not. I will know when I will be, but I don’t want to get too confused because I gave you an idea of what I think. There’s a level of things that aren’t quite balanced, but I would really like to help every player based in Ukraine get out there and play somewhere.
You advise the team to be a little cautious, but do you risk being shy?
We don’t question that. We try to be aware that it’s a game we want to win but don’t want to lose because we also have a second game to play. Cautious is not the right word. First we try to figure out how to handle a home game.
Is West Ham’s progress a good thing for UEFA, and not just for one of the top six clubs?
I think it probably shows more the level and levels of the Premier League. For many years the Spaniards dominated the competition and we talked about Sevilla earlier and how many times they have won it. You’re watching it right now and there’s still Barcelona in the competition. Villarreal are in the Champions League so I think for us it’s great, great to be there and challenge the teams in the competition and to be mentioned. I think we want to give everyone opportunities in football and we want to give every club an opportunity to do well in football. We took the opportunity in qualifying last season and we want to continue this season because we did well and hopefully we can continue.