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Moyes reflects on Frankfurt meltdown

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Hammers manager David Moyes has pleaded with his players the lessons of last season’s Europa League semi-final exit, but warned: “I don’t want vanilla players”.

West Ham are hoping to reach a second successive European semi-final as they take on Belgian side Gent in tonight’s Europa Conference League quarter-final first leg, which kicks off at the earlier time of 5:45pm.

Last seasons run came to an abrupt end against Eintracht Frankfurt in the semi-final, with West Ham conceding inside the first 60 seconds in the home leg, and then seeing any hopes of a return victory vanish with Aaron Cresswell’s sending off in the away fixture.

West Ham then went into full ‘temper-tantrum’ mode when Moyes was himself sent off late on for kicking a ball towards a ballboy, whilst Declan Rice was banned for accusing a match official of corruption in the tunnel.

To be absolutely fair to both Moyes and Rice I’ve never seen such a partisan crowd impact officials so much in a game against West Ham. Quite how the stewards to opening gates and usher fans for a pitch inbvaision has not prompted more punishment from UEFA is baffling to say the least.

Speaking ahead of the game in Belgium, Moyes suggested his players would be better prepared to keep their heads this time around, but insisted that must not come at the expense of any intensity.

David Moyes: Hoping to learn from last season’s Europa exploits

“When I look back I want to learn,” Moyes said of last season’s misery. “I said after that game we need to learn from the mistakes. A couple of us, me included, made errors, and got caught up and we were probably a goal down in the first leg before the game had even started.

“Emotions are something you never know what’s going to happen. Looking back I can understand it, we were right up against it on occasions, but we’ve got to make sure we are better disciplined, calmer.

“But we still want the players to be emotional, we want them to understand what it means, we want them to be motivated and eager to impress. We don’t want vanilla players who are going to go around and not tackle, challenge, run hard, be competitive.”

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