Moyes dreams of West Ham Wembley date after Benrahma 'screamer' stings Bees in FA Cup
David Moyes was “thrilled” following a resourceful, battling interlude from West Ham United's current struggles.
The Hammers fought hard to sink Brentford at the Gtech Stadium, with a 79th minute goal by Said Benrahma. The former Bees striker swept a superb winner past Brentford’s reserve keeper Thomas Strakosha, who was part of a shadow side put out by the hosts, in an otherwise dire encounter.
Brentford’s rotational selection policy, on the other hand, came at a cost as ambitious West Ham now move into the fourth round.
Moyes is, crucially, hoping to steer the Hammers out of relegation danger – but this triumph drew special admiration from the manager, who is aiming, if possible, to drive his side to a Wembley final.
“To get through in any cup competition is so important but it’s great to get through here,” said Moyes. “We knew this was a difficult game and we’re thrilled to be through. We’ll have a right go at it. I’d do anything to get the West Ham supporters to Wembley.
“We had a good draw at Leeds in midweek and winning here gets us back on track.
“Not conceding goals gives you a platform and we’ve done that and it was a great screamer from Said to win today. I could easily have started him today but I changed the system. I can play him in several positions. He was great and it was a terrific goal from a player who can impact off the bench. Declan (Rice) too, - today he drove the team on and winning the tackle to set up Said for the goal. You can see yet again what he brings to us."
Other managers may dismiss the FA Cup as a hindrance in a busy, demanding campaign, yet Moyes – who guided West Ham to the Europa League semi-final last term – feels the competition can significantly lift spirits in east London.
“I want a run in the cup and you could see how well we did last season,” the Scot added. “The cup would be a real bonus for us, but getting our position correct in the Premier League is the big priority. It is the bread and butter for any Premier League manager. We’ve had a pretty good week now and it’s something we’ve got to build on.”
Brentford head coach, Thomas Frank, meanwhile, insisted that his side had done enough to win the tie, even though he opted to field a team which barely resembled the one which famously beat Liverpool last week.
With this exit to the hands of a London rival, it appears the domestic cup competitions hold comparatively little appeal for the Bees, particularly after going out of the Carabao Cup earlier in the season to Gillingham. In view of this woeful display, league consolidation is of primary importance for Brentford.
“I think we were the team that was determined - I saw a Brentford side who played in a tight game, but we were on top for much of it,” Frank insisted.
“We had a lot of possession and didn’t give them many chances. We created enough - it was tight and it should have been us. In a game like this you have to take their moment – they took theirs and we didn’t.
“We need to be more decisive in the final third with our passing. We played without eight potential starters and they were at almost full strength and we need to do better.
“It was a very good shot by Said. I need to look back on video but potentially Thomas (Strakosha) should maybe have done better, but he was good with his distribution and dealing with crosses, so I think he played well. I felt we did more than enough to win against a club much bigger than us. I am irritated but not devastated.
“Sometimes it’s difficult to play against a 5-3-2. I wanted us to create a bit more to create possibilities to score. But West Ham played well.”