David James Exclusive: Hammers Can Win Europa League
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David James Exclusive: Hammers Can Win Europa League

Former West Ham goalkeeper David James believes his old club can win the Europa League, despite the presence of "scary" Barcelona. West Ham topped their group and went on to knock Sevilla out in the round of 16, before securing a 1-1 draw with Lyon in their quarter-final first leg – despite going down to 10 men at the end of the first half. Barcelona, meanwhile, dropped into the Europa League after only finishing third in their Champions League group – and beat Napoli 5-3 on aggregate to reach the round of 16. They went on to eliminate Galatasaray, before being held to a 1-1 draw by Eintracht Frankfurt in the first leg of their own quarter-final tie. Despite a poor start to the season, the Blaugrana have found form under new head coach Xavi and are second in LaLiga after seven consecutive league victories.


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Barcelona Scary But Hammers Can Win

James has been impressed by the Catalan giants’ quality, but is still convinced that West Ham can end the season with a European trophy.

Speaking exclusively to Genting, he said: "Barcelona look scary, but West Ham can still win the Europa League, why not?

"I was watching some footage of Barcelona the other day and they look scary.

"In two-legged affairs, you just need to play well. I think the environment at West Ham under David Moyes is so good at the moment, so why not?

"The potential of playing Barcelona in a two-legged affair is why they went to the London Stadium.

"I'd always say they can do it and they've got a great chance."

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Top-Four Hopes Over

Domestically, West Ham are also enjoying a strong campaign and are firmly in the fight for a top-six spot with Manchester United and Wolves.

However, Saturday’s 2-0 defeat to Brentford means they are now six points off the Champions League places, having played a game more than fourth-placed Tottenham.

And James feels that, unless one of the North London sides endures a poor run of form, David Moyes’ men will have to make do with a top-six finish at best.

Instead, the 51-year-old sees a Europa League victory as West Ham’s best chance of qualifying for the Champions League next season.

"West Ham’s only hope of top four is if Arsenal or Spurs slip up or by winning the Europa League," he explained.

"I think top four is unrealistic, but there's a chance. It will be more to do with the failure of Spurs and Arsenal if they do it.

"A more realistic way they'll do it is if they qualify through the Europa League as the one-off games give them a better chance.

"I do think it's now unrealistic, though."

 

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