SportsDay
SPORTS UPDATE

UEL: ‘Crazy’ to think of Barcelona with Lyon up first, says Moyes

David Moyes says it would be “crazy” to look past Lyon with a potential Europa League meeting with Barcelona looming.

The Hammers face Ligue 1 side Lyon at the London Stadium on Thursday night in the first leg of their quarter-final tie.

West Ham or Lyon have been drawn to face either Barcelona or Bayer Leverkusen in the semi-final as they bid to reach the final in Seville.

Fans in east London have been chanting about a tie with Barcelona since the start of the season, but Moyes insists that those within the club are keeping cool heads.

“[We’re] not thinking beyond Lyon at the moment,” said Moyes.

“We take every competition seriously, treat them all with the same importance. This one obviously is more special, to be among teams we’ve not had for years is really important. Two years ago they were in a Champions League semi-final. We’d be crazy to think any further than this first game.

“We have not even talked a minute more than Lyon. How could we dare? We wouldn’t. It is too big a game, too big a club that we are playing.

“We’re playing a really strong team in Europe over many years so we find that we wouldn’t even think about it. None of us have considered it. One game at a time, it is sad but that is it.”

West Ham are in their first European quarter-final since 1981 and, with UEFA having recently approved new rules to allow historic performance in Europe to influence qualification (a backdoor for big clubs fallen on hard times) Moyes is delighted to see his side upsetting the usual order of things.

“I bet you UEFA were not expecting West Ham to be in this position,” said Moyes. “But that’s what happens.

“And that’s why we need to keep encouraging UEFA to bring in other teams. Look how well we’ve done. Maybe we might not have got in this competition if there were different rules.

“From that point of view, I really think that we want to show that we can challenge. And if we’re at our best, we’re a match for most teams and we can be.”

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