Moyes ‘would love’ to follow in Mourinho’s footsteps as West Ham target end to Romanian pain

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West Ham boss David Moyes goes out onto the pitch Credit: PA Images
West Ham boss David Moyes goes out onto the pitch Credit: PA Images

David Moyes is keen to avoid more pain from Romania when West Ham begin their Europa Conference League campaign.

The Hammers face FCSB, formerly part of one-time European Cup winners Steaua Buchareșt, in their group-stage opener at the London Stadium on Thursday night.

In 2015 and 2016, West Ham were twice knocked out of the Europa League at the qualifying stage by Romanian minnows Astra Giurgiu.

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Meanwhile, Moyes had a painful experience on a trip to Bucharest when his Everton team were thumped 5-1 by Dinamo in the UEFA Cup in 2005.

“West Ham don’t have very good memories of playing Romanian teams? Neither do I,” said Moyes.

“I managed Everton in Romania and we lost there. So it can happen. But time moves on as well so you don’t think back, you try and look forward.”

The Conference League might be Europe’s third-tier competition but Moyes is taking it just as seriously as West Ham’s run to the semi-finals of the Europa League last season.

Moyes pointed to the celebrations of Jose Mourinho and his Roma team after they won the inaugural competition last season as proof of its significance.

“The group stage is never the bit that makes you go ‘great, I’m looking forward to the games’,” he added.

“But everybody is hoping to qualify for the knock-out games, which were more exciting last season.

“This time last year we won in Zagreb and did a really good job in winning the group. We will try to do so again.

“We had a real good go at it last year and we celebrated (qualifying) this year as well, even though we are only in the Conference League.

“I watched the final last year, between Roma and Feyenoord, and it was an excellent game.

“If you look at Jose Mourinho – who has won all the competitions – how he considered how big he felt it.

“I would love to be in a position to win it as well.”

Czech right-back Vladimir Coufal wants an emotional return to Prague, where the final will take place, and to enjoy a celebratory pilsner or two afterwards.

“It would be perfect. It’s not just my home country but the stadium of my former club Slavia Prague,” he said.

“It would be something amazing to reach the final, but we need to work really hard.

“When I am off season, on holiday, I prefer Czech beer because it is one of the best in the world. Everyone knows that.

“I think if we win the Europa Conference League, especially in Prague, I think I can invite some of the guys for a few beers, if the gaffer allows it.”

 

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