Paul Ince Exclusive: European Quarter-Final A Massive Achievement
Former West Ham United midfielder Paul Ince has claimed that reaching a European quarter-final would represent a successful season for the Irons. The East London outfit have built on an impressive 2020-21 campaign by topping their Europa League group and currently sit fourth in the Premier League. Under the leadership of David Moyes, the Hammers have not lost a game by more than one goal in their last 40 matches — the longest run of any side in Europe’s top five leagues. They are searching for their first major piece of silverware since 1980, but Ince believes that reaching the final eight in the Europa League would be a huge success this term.
Speaking exclusively to Genting, he said: “If they could get into the quarter-finals of the Europa League I think that would be a massive achievement for the team.
“It’s great that they’re in Europe, West Ham always should be in Europe, and it’s an amazing job Moyes has done.
“He’s always said that he didn’t have enough time at Old Trafford, which I don’t think he did, he didn’t have the time to implement what he wanted – we’re now seeing that at West Ham.
“We’re now seeing them competing with the best; even against Manchester City, they’re competing against the best teams and they’re playing well.
“He’s got a great spirit there, there are no big egos, no big stars, just a team who know how to defend and how to attack.”
Impressed By Moyes
A product of the famous ‘Academy of Football’, Ince graduated from the Hammers youth system to make his professional debut in 1986.
And the former England international has hailed Moyes’ management, to get his side competing for a Champions League spot.
“The style of football he plays is a bit like when he was at Everton, I think West Ham suits him,” he explained.
“He believes that he can challenge the top four, I wouldn’t disagree at all.
“Obviously the top three are out of his reach, but then you have Arsenal, Tottenham, West Ham, Man United, there are four teams there who could easily finish in the top four.
“He will believe that he can get that fourth spot, and I don’t see any reason why he couldn’t.
“I think playing in Europe is going to be tough because they haven’t got a massive squad.
“He’s relying on probably six or seven players, who play every week and then who play on Thursday night.”
Overcoming A Demanding Schedule
It is those demands on the players that Ince believes will be the biggest hurdle for Moyes to overcome — but he is nonetheless delighted to see how the mood in East London has improved under the Scottish tactician.
“That (the frequency of fixtures) is going to take its toll, (but) it’s just great to see them up there and playing the way they are,” he said.
“It’s great to see the atmosphere at the new stadium, we had so much negativity around it two years ago, with all the fans on the pitch – it’s changed now.
“Moyes has got the atmosphere back and the fans are happy.
“It’s great to see, and Moyes – not just Moyes, his staff, Stuart Pearce, Kevin Nolan, all the ones he’s brought back in – they’ve done a fabulous job for the club and fingers crossed it will continue.”