West Ham captain Kurt Zouma has said he’s confident the club can advance to the quarter finals of the Europa League despite defeat on Thursday night.

The Hammers were defeated 1-0 away from home last night in the first leg of their round of 16 tie against German side Freiburg.

Zouma admitted post match there is room for improvement if he and his teammates are to progress to the quarter finals.
Forward Michael Gregoritsch, who came on in the second half for Freiburg, sealed the first leg victory for the Germans with his close range strike in the 81st minute. David Moyes’ side created a number of chances, particularly in the second half, which included centre back Dinos Mavropanos hitting the post.

Ultimately the Hammers were unable to convert any of these chances in what was an even tie for the most part. West Ham were denied a late penalty and an opportunity to equalise from twelve yards following a lengthy VAR check for handball at the end of added time in the second half.

Speaking after the match, West Ham captain Kurt Zouma expressed his frustration that he and his side will go into the return leg next week a goal down, Zouma said: “We’re very disappointed, we had a lot of chances to score, but overall we didn’t play very well and they did, and now we have to come from behind,” he told the club’s Official Website.

Discussing the late VAR controversy and the lengthy time it took the referee to reach a decision, Zouma added: “It took the referee a long time to come to the final VAR decision, but it is what it is. We have to accept the result and look at what we did wrong, and we’ll be confident ahead of the next game next week.”

If West Ham are to get past Freiburg in the second leg at the London Stadium, it would be the third consecutive year that David Moyes’ side have reached the last eight of a European competition, captain Kurt Zouma emphasised the Hammers ambition is to try and make it another successful European campaign: “The fans are always right behind us, we’re looking to continue our recent success in Europe, and hopefully we can get the win we need for them.”

Written by Finlay Jackson