David Moyes apologised for letting his frustrations take over after kicking the ball at a ball boy in West Ham’s Europa League semi-final defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt.
The Hammers were dumped out of the competition with a 3-1 aggregate defeat and had Aaron Cresswell sent off for denying a clear goalscoring opportunity when he brought down Jens Petter Hauge. The Germans then scored the only goal of the game, courtesy of Rafael Borré.
He said: “I kicked a ball back at the ball boy so I apologise for that. He threw it very softly at me.
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“Things didn’t go for us on the night. I’m really proud of the players. How they played with 10 men was fantastic. Other teams would have folded. But the boys here are great. Tough boys.
“I just feel disappointment because this was a chance. We’ve played better teams than Frankfurt. If we’re being honest, we probably lost the game in the first 30 seconds of the game at the London Stadium where we conceded a goal. Really from that moment we’ve been chasing the game ever since.”
The disappointment was echoed by club captain Declan Rice, but the midfielder expressed his pride at how the team had progressed in Europe.
“We’re gutted in there,” Rice added.
“We’ve come so far as a group. We’re proud as well to go down to 10 men and put in that shift. I’ve lost big games, lads in there have lost big games, but I come off with my chest held high.”
There was also an unsavoury incident off the pitch for West Ham, with news surfacing that a visiting fan had been arrested for making a Nazi salute inside the stadium.
“Our forces arrested a person in the guest block who had previously shown the Hitler salute,” Frankfurt Police tweeted.
West Ham’s defeat means they have missed out on the chance to qualify for next season’s Champions League group stages – the prize for winning Europa League.
The east Londoners currently sit seventh, which would be enough to secure a place in the Europa Conference League.
They are six points behind sixth-placed Manchester United with a game in hand, and leapfrogging the Red Devils would guarantee a place in next season’s Europa League.
Moyes’ side are back in Premier League action on Sunday when they face already-relegated Norwich at Carrow Road.
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