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  • Writer's pictureBy Yann Tear at the London Stadium

Moyes future is strictly taboo for the bristling Scot in aftermath of Europa exit

David Moyes at last night's press conference (Picture: YTJourno)

It's a touchy subject.

So touchy that even know, the end of a stint as manager, say....could land you that cold dead stare of a man who might punch your lights out for looking at him the wrong way.

Of course the feelings will have been raw in the hour after West Ham had been eliminated from the Europa League at the quarter-final stage. Their brave showing against Bayer Leverkusen, the newly-crowned Bundesliga champions, was not quite enough to overturn the 2-0 loss in the first leg. They gave it their all but a 1-1 draw confirmed their elimination.

For David Moyes, the past few years of European adventure have defined his tenure, but there is to be no repeat of last season's Prague spring in Dublin, where this year's final is due to be held.

"David, if this is the end of your tenure at the end of the season, how do you reflect on...." was all it took as a line of questioning from a reporter in the post-match press conference to light the blue touch paper.

"Sorry? I didn't get that question? " Moyes said. His press officer jumped in to say the press conference was for the game and not about his future - even though the West Ham boss is out of contract at the end of the season and no decision has been announced about whether he stays or goes.

"We've just had a third quarter-final in the tenure, I'm sorry but I didn't quite hear you right there," Moyes said in tones laced with potential menace.

The reporter tried again with what was really a legitimate question: "I just wanted to reflect on the three years you've had in Europe in terms of this being the end of this journey, and the moments you've given these fans the last three seasons."

"Better question," said Moyes. "I think it's been much better the way we've been as a football club. Three years in Europe's been fabulous. Three quarter-finals. We've won two of the three of those quarter-finals. We came narrowly close to doing it. I think the supporters here have been treated to big nights, whether it be Alkmaar, Seville. We've played in semi-finals of Europe.

"Tonight it was Leverkusen, who are obviously a Champions League team and play that way and are going to be that next year, so I've got to say that I think we've had three fabulous years and I'm hoping there's still a chance we can make it four [via a league placing].

Moyes' tetchiness extended to non-complaining complaints about the officiating. The over-fussy Spanish ref Jose Maria Sanchez raised his heckles and he was irritated that it should even be up for a debate.

"I thought it was a bit of a silly question, because actually I think that he [the reporter] knows it was very poor and he was just getting me to say it. But I would say it. Definitely," Moyes said. "I've watched a lot of Spanish football and worked in Spain, so I've an idea of what it's like, but if that's the way it is, you wouldn't be wanting to watch too many Spanish games at the moment."

Reflecting on the tie itself, the Scot said: "Tactically, I thought we did a brilliant job in the first game. We got to 83 minutes and hadn't conceded. If anything we might have run out of fresh legs in a couple of games, but I've been quite limited in changes I'm able to make.

"Even tonight, I don't have Kalvin Phillips, I don't have Dinos [Mavropanos}, I don't have [suspended] Paqueta.

"Tonight, the biggest thing is we just couldn't get the second goal. We ran out of energy in the second half, there's no doubt about that, but it wasn't for want of trying. Other clubs would love to have nights like we've had.

"It was just a brilliant team performance. I have to say in the two games, playing a really good team. I thought tonight we had the chance to be two or three up at one point. We missed those opportunities that were really important, but overall, you couldn't fault the players at all. I thought they were fantastic. Their attitude, their effort.

"If I was going to go out of Europe, I wanted to go out playing like that. It was a terrific performance against a good side."


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