There's a job still to do

  • by Staff Writer
  • Wednesday, 15th March 2023

West Ham United go into the second leg of their Conference League, Round of 16 tie with Larnaca in a commanding position having won the first leg in Cyprus 2-0 last week.

Yet the Hammers will not be resting on their laurels, says midfielder Pablo Fornals, even though they already have one foot in the quarter finals.

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Speaking to the media as the appointed squad member on Wednesday lunchtime, the Spaniard insisted that the tie is not yet over.

"We can’t think the job is done because it is not," said Fornals. "It’s two games. We did well in the first one and that put us in a good space, but it is not finished.

"It’s massive to keep going in this European competition. We’re still unbeaten in Europe this season and we want to keep having this good momentum. We’re trying to keep the good vibes and the positivity for each game, as it’s the best way to take on the challenge."

And Fornals believes that Sunday's 1-1 draw with Aston Villa was enough to maintain the squad's unity, despite rampant rumours of fall-outs and bust-ups having circulated on social media in recent days.

"In football you don’t have time to think too much on what happened three days ago because you have another challenge so quickly," he said. "So we’re focused on tomorrow’s game.

"The main thing is to be together, inside and with the people outside too. It’s going to be massive for everyone. If we’re together for these last months in the season it will really help us."

And Fornals gave his full backing to the cllub's current skipper, Declan Rice, who has himself been criticised by some fans of social media in recent days. "All of you know Declan," he said, when asked about Rice's suitability for the role. "He’s a great lad, he’s our captain.

"He’s learned a lot from Nobes and I think he’s just tried to be a positive [influence] and help everyone, putting the team on his back."

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The return leg against Larnaca will be Fornals' tenth appearance in Europe for the Hammers this season, should he be selected, and his 22nd in non-domestic competition since arriving in east London - a new club record and one of which he is very proud.

"It’s always nice and beautiful to have a good record," he replied when asked about his record. "I’m really glad to keep adding games to it."

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