David Moyes takes nothing for granted as West Ham seal Europa Conference League turnaround

While a year ago the Hammers’ first-ever group stage appearance in UEFA’s Europa League competition was new and part of the fun, the excitement for a second consecutive season in Europe seems shrouded in the assumption that the club will dive into the third-tier Europa Conference League and feature more famous knockout nights in the new year.

Many bookies even have West Ham in mind to lift the trophy in Prague next June, although there is of course the potential for many keys to fall in the works of the Europa League on the other side of Christmas.

For 45 minutes last night, however, Moyes’ side did not play as favorites for anything and led 1-0 at the break after Andrei Cordea won a well-worked opener for FCSB in the 34th minute.

Moyes’ hustle was clear, not just before the break but also on the touchline afterwards as, after introducing Jarrod Bowen, Michail Antonio and club-record signing Lucas Paqueta in the interval, his side continued to work and didn’t look like they were threatening an equalizer until they were awarded a controversial penalty when Maxwel Cornet and Daniel Vlad collided in the air.

Bowen’s kick lifted the home side out of what, under surreal circumstances, was perhaps understandable unease, however, and although all post-match media obligations were canceled following the death of Her Majesty The Queen, it’s fair to assume Moyes will have been buoyed by a second-half turnaround that saw fresh goals from Emerson Palmieri and Michail Antonio earn a 3-1 win.

From drifting to a disappointing start, the Hammers find themselves in a position this morning where victory over the weakest team in the group, Silkeborg (fourth in the Danish top flight, two points behind Viborg, whom West Ham beat in qualifying) in Denmark next week will suddenly sail them into the knockout stage.

Moyes’ enthusiasm for this competition has, for now, been tempered by the Thursday-to-Sunday grind it requires amid an already crowded fixture list that it looks like could be on the table. point of being even more so.

West Ham needed second-half turnaround to beat FCSB in Europa Conference League

/ Getty Images

How the Scot would like to have secured qualification ahead of the final day of the group stage, sparing his stars the trip to Bucharest for a second leg that is between a Premier League trip to Manchester United and a London derby against Crystal Palace.

Alright, it could even be done sooner, before Silkeborg comes to the London Stadium in a week of programming that has already had Moyes grumbling, given the Hammers are due to play Bournemouth in the League on Monday night, despite a game Thursday. .

This may all be premature, and Moyes’ solid starting XI along with his stellar replacements showed he was taking nothing for granted. But forward planning is increasingly part of the Irons boss’ remit and after a slow start to the Premier League, any opportunity to prioritize home front business further down the line could prove valuable in the extreme.

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