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Work to do for West Ham as failure to heed David Moyes warning gives Sevilla edge

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avid Moyes had warned that it would be more difficult.

The West Ham manager has spent months telling his players that the Europa League they cruised through would be a different beast this side of Christmas.

West Ham are certainly not out of this tie following a 1-0 defeat at Sevilla, but have been given a lesson in what progression will take.

The Hammers battled well and were equal to the six-time winners of this competition for the most part, but were undone by a smart set-piece which saw Munir hand Julen Lopetegui’s side a first-leg advantage.

Having urged his players to be more clinical following a wasteful display at Anfield. Moyes will have been disappointed with how his side passed up their chances here, Nikola Vlasic the most guilty.

The travelling fans can take pride in their side’s performance; West Ham certainly weren’t outclassed, just outthought when it mattered most by a side who are yet to lose to English opposition in this tournament.

Moyes was boosted by the return of captain Declan Rice from illness with the England international the one outfield change from defeat at Liverpool, replacing the injured Jarrod Bowen. Alphonse Areola, who has Champions League experience with Real Madrid and PSG, started in goal.

AP

On top of Rice’s return there was more good news for Moyes ahead of kick-off as Sevilla, already without a number of first team players, lost their main threat in former Barcelona man Ivan Rakitic in the warm up.

The Croatian was replaced in the XI by Munir, who passed up a golden chance to open the scoring inside five minutes, heading inexplicably wide from Tecatito’s cross.

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