Mark Noble confident that West Ham can beat any team in the Europa League knockouts

·3-min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Mark Noble says West Ham can beat any side in the Europa League this season but knows the Hammers are set for far tougher tests after cruising into the next round.

Victory in Vienna on Thursday night sealed West Ham's place at the top of Group H, securing the East Londoners direct passage to the last-16 of the Europa League and ensuring they don't have to face a play-off against the sides which drop out of the Champions League in February.

Noble scored from the spot to double the Hammers’ lead over Rapid Vienna after Andriy Yarmolenko had headed home the opener on what proved a comfortable evening for David Moyes's side.

West Ham have one last group game, at home to Dinamo Zagreb next month, but can now start looking ahead to a tantalising tie in March.

"How far can we go? Well, the further you go, the better teams you play," said Noble. "Do I think we have proved this year that we can be any team? Yes.

"But we have to take every game as it comes. I know everyone says that but the teams are so good, especially when the teams drop out of the Champions League you play some some real big hitters.

"So it's important that we want to regroup so we get a bit of a rest from from the Europa League, because we've got so many games coming up.

"But do I think we can beat any team? Yes. Will it be tough? Yes. But I believe in the players that we've got."

Moyes knows the trials and tribulations which await in the knockout stages having been beaten on penalties in the quarter-finals of the 2008 UEFA Cup by Fiorentina while in charge of Everton.

However, such is the transformation at West Ham under his guidance - they sit fourth in the Premier League ahead of a trip to champions Manchester City on Sunday and are into the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup - that he and his squad go into the draw full of confidence.


"We'll go into it with a real big confidence that we've done well in the early games," said Moyes.

"It'll be a different competition in March. We'll have a chance to look at the teams in February and see how those games go. It is a great achievement for us to be in European football in March.

"I don't see any reason why we can't keep challenging and pushing on, competing in the Premier League and competing in Europe. I'd be happy to take on most teams. I hope we're able to show that in the coming weeks and months."

Moyes made eight changes with the group coming through unscathed ahead of their trip to the Etihad Stadium. Declan Rice and Aaron Cresswell were unused substitutes while striker Michail Antonio was left out of the travelling squad to rest up for three Premier League games in seven days next week.

"I think we've got a game every three days for the next two months," Noble said on Thursday night. "Which is going to be tough.

"But the gaffer managed to change the team tonight and give the boys who will probably play on Sunday a rest, so as I said for the players that haven't been involved recently, for myself, it's been a good night."

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