West Ham manager David Moyes insists his side “have a job to do” ahead of their second-leg tie against AEK Larnaca in the Europa Conference League.
A place in the quarter-finals is at stake, but the Hammers go into Thursday’s match at the London Stadium with a 2-0 lead from the first leg and they will be looking to extend their unbeaten spell in Europe having won all seven of their games in the competition so far.
West Ham are no strangers to European knock-out football after they reached the semi-finals of the Europa League last year, but Moyes is determined his side must make the most of the opportunity ahead of them.
“It sure is a good opportunity,” he told a pre-match press conference.
“It’s something which we worked really hard for last year. We finished seventh in the league which got us to the Conference League and we’re enjoying it.
“We’ve enjoyed our trips to Europe, we enjoyed the result last week.
“We’ve got a job to do on Thursday night to make sure we’ve got the job done and finished off and if we can do that then we’d reach the quarter-final of another European competition for two years in a row so it’s important, it really is.
“It would be great (to reach the quarter-finals) it’s the first thing you have to do.
“The big thing we really want is to get to the final, but we can’t do that unless we get to the quarter-finals first and we have to be focused completely on doing that job.”
Michail Antonio’s double ensured West Ham take the advantage going into Thursday’s tie, but Moyes confirmed that the forward will be unavailable through injury alongside Vladimir Coufal.
“Vladimir Coufal has still got a problem with his foot and Micky Antonio has just got a bit of a calf injury which he picked up in Cyprus last week,” Moyes said.
“I couldn’t tell you when I expect both of them to return as I’m not sure yet.”
Thursday provides an opportunity for Gianluca Scamacca following comments from Moyes at the weekend insisting that the striker’s “physical data” needed to be better.
Scamacca signed for the club from Sassuolo last year and is expected to start against Larnaca, but Moyes added that it takes time for players to adjust to the demands of the Premier League.
“I think we find that everyone who comes to the Premier League has to get used to the level of intensity – it’s not anybody from Italy and it’s not just Gianluca,” he said.
“You hear me, but you certainly hear other managers say it takes players time to adjust to the levels of the Premier League but also the speed and intensity and the regular demands of the Premier League.”