David Moyes has insisted that he and his West Ham United players are “really enjoying” their journey in the Europa League this season.
Ahead of their game against Genk, West Ham had picked up maximum points from their first two games in Group H. They beat both Dinamo Zagreb and Rapid Wien 2-0.
Moyes’ side hosted Belgian side Genk in their third outing in the group stages on Thursday night. The first half at the London Stadium was even.
West Ham did take the lead before the break though. Craig Dawson got the goal as he headed the ball home from Aaron Cresswell’s corner.
The hosts made a fast start to the second half as they went 3-0 up by the 59th minute. Issa Diop netted their second before Jarrod Bowen scored an impressive solo goal.
The Hammers are now in firm control of their group as they sit six points clear of their rivals.
They can qualify for the knockout stages of the competition by the end of the next round of fixtures. As reported by BBC Sport, Moyes said that West Ham’s goal before the break was “important”:
“It was tight in the first half. I thought we deserved to go in front but they had one or two half-chances as well. But getting the goals quite quickly was great for us and allowed us to make a few changes and relax a bit more.
“We don’t want to lose any goals. We had a couple of really good blocks late on and a few scary moments in the first half. We don’t want that to happen but the players deserve it. The goal just before half time was important.
“We have to go to Genk and Venice. This is the bit everyone is looking forward to – the away trips for the fans, the players and the families as well. From that point of view it’s still new, still fresh and we’re really enjoying it.”
On the set-piece goals: “I’d love to say they were [planned] but they weren’t. We don’t all work on set-pieces all the time. Of course we take interest and care in them but you need people who want to head the ball.
“When you have players who can deliver for them it gives them a chance to score. All the work you do, you need those ingredients.”
Bowen also spoke after the game and he suggested that he is “improving” in his more advanced position:
“It’s good. I should have had one in the first half. Even the one I scored I probably didn’t finish it right but I said before the game I bet I’ll score when I scuff it! But if you don’t shoot you don’t score. I’m buzzing with my first Europa League goal.
“Up front I feel like you can run in behind and play in both sides. You can go down the left and the right or drop off.
“I feel like I’m improving in that position. Being a target man is not my game at all but I think wherever I just love playing.”
On his Europa League journey: “It means everything, looking back and playing non-league… I remember scoring my first goal for Alfreton at 16/17. Now to score in the Europa League is a dream. I’m loving every minute.”