David Moyes warns West Ham over Europa League step up: ‘It becomes a completely different competition’

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David Moyes knows the Europa League will get much harder for West Ham after Christmas  (Getty Images)
David Moyes knows the Europa League will get much harder for West Ham after Christmas (Getty Images)

David Moyes has warned his West Ham squad that the Europa League will be a "completely different" tournament after Christmas.

The Hammers have cruised through their group and visit Rapid Vienna on Thursday night with qualification to the knockout stages already secured.

With the tournament having been restructured this season, finishing top of the group would mean West Ham move straight to the last 16. Finish second and they face a side which has dropped down from the Champions League in a play-off.

Borussia Dortmund will be one of those teams and could be joined by the likes of Barcelona, Atletico Madrid or AC Milan. West Ham are currently favourites to win the Europa League with bookmakers, something Moyes knows may not last long.

"The competition is really exciting at the moment," he said. "We couldn't wait for the draw, to see who we got, and I have to say the players have taken to it really well.

"Everybody talks about us being one of the favourites but when you see the Champions League clubs, I watched the games last night, looking at the teams who could finish third and drop into the Europa League, it becomes a completely different competition."

West Ham now have two games to secure top spot, with a win on Thursday meaning they cannot be caught at the summit of Group H.

"I'd like to get the job done," said Moyes. "We've given ourselves a really good start and because of that, we've got room for manoeuvre.

“We'd like to get top of the group if we can. We've got ourselves in a qualification position, it's just whether we can top it now."

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