UEFA has boldly claimed West Ham United are serious contenders to win this season’s Europa League after a meeting with striker Michail Antonio.
West Ham secured Europa League group stage football for the first time after their record-breaking Premier League season last term.
And David Moyes’s side have taken to it like a duck to water with two wins from two, four goals scored and none conceded so far.
West Ham’s start to the competition has been so good they have been installed as favourites to win it.
And now even European football’s governing body UEFA have admitted West Ham are ‘serious contenders’ to win the Europa League.
UEFA met up with Hammers striker Michail Antonio ahead of tomorrow’s clash with Genk at the London Stadium.
UEFA say West Ham are serious contenders to win Europa League after meeting Michail Antonio
And they were clearly enamoured with the big personality who has become a big problem for defences over land and sea.
Here’s a few snippets from UEFA’s piece on West Ham after meeting with Antonio.
“At 31, Michail Antonio is on his first group stage adventure in European football, the West Ham striker’s journey in the game having started at non-league Tooting and Mitcham United before he made his circuitous way to the Hammers,” UEFA said on its official website.
“A firm fixture at the London club since 2015, he is now their all-time top scorer in the Premier League and got off the mark in his first UEFA Europa League group match when David Moyes’ side beat Dinamo Zagreb in Croatia.
“If Antonio’s self-belief is as infectious as his personality, the Hammers could well find themselves contenders for their first major continental title since the 1964/65 Cup Winners’ Cup.”
One look at the history books shows West Ham look on course to make the last 16 of the Europa League.
The way European group stage fixtures work, the Hammers face Genk on Thursday and the Belgian side again as the match order is reversed for the second round of games.
On paper Genk should not be a problem for West Ham. That could see the Hammers on 12 points with two games to play.
And history shows that should be enough to win the group and advance to the exciting knockout stages in March.