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By Martin Graham | 14th Apr 2023
West Ham United manager David Moyes has admitted that his side got lucky with their draw against Belgian side KAA Gent in the first leg of their UEFA European Conference League quarter final match.
Veteran striker Danny Ings put the Hammers 1 – 0 up just before the break, but the hosts responded in the 56th minute to draw the scores level. West Ham would hold on for a result which they intend to take back to the London stadium and build upon when the Belgians come calling next week.
Their Premier League struggles carried on to the European stage as the hosts were dominant from start to finish. Some flashes of brilliance in defence from Moyes’ team as well as poor finishing, the crossbar and indecisiveness in front of goal prevented Gent from going ahead and possibly finishing off the tie.
The former Manchester United manager admitted that this was the case in his post-match comments. He made six changes to the starting lineup for the game as he had his mind on their upcoming match against the Premier League leaders Arsenal, which could determine their relegation fate.
He also insisted that the changes were not out of disrespect for Gent. “Overall it was a really tough game, very physical, Gent were very strong and made it very difficult for us,” Moyes said.
“I don’t think we were underestimating them. I think when you get to this stage of the competition, into the final eight, there are not many bad teams wherever you go.
“I think you will find everyone has worked really hard to be here and they don’t want to give up a chance to make a semi-final. We knew that would be the case. We knew it would be tough and it proved to be.
“I didn’t think the performance was good but the result was not a bad result. In cup competitions we know what can happen. We’re away from home, facing a strong crowd, and Gent played very well tonight.”
Moyes then spoke on Danny Ings. “That’s the reason we brought Danny in, because he has got goals in him,” said Moyes. “If we create chances, he will take them. We didn’t create enough tonight, we didn’t build well enough and made it difficult for ourselves. We were more liable to score a second on the counter, but it didn’t materialize.
“Hopefully we can show them a bit more about how we play when we see them next Thursday.”