Ben Johnson admits all West Ham United players expected to win Europa League
West Ham youngster Ben Johnson has insisted everyone at the club expected them to go on to lift the Europa League trophy this season.
David Moyes’ side fell agonisingly short – controversially being knocked out by Eintracht Frankfurt in the semi-final.
The 22-year-old was quick to put a positive spin on the matter, outlining a “big incentive” for his teammates for the remainder of the season.
Johnson told Daily Mail: “This season we have exceeded our targets but we feel we had more to give.
“It just hasn’t worked out. We were in the top-four fight but had Europa League seemingly every Thursday and games on Sunday, which is exacting, and we dropped off.
“We all thought we were gonna win the Europa League but we have something to play for to get back in it.
“It’s a big incentive. All the boys want European football again and that would turn a good season into a fantastic one.
“Our aim is the Europa League again, then the Champions League. We have the squad to do it.”
It just wasn’t meant to be for West Ham in Europe this season.
No matter how it finishes, the Hammers have had a terrific season – defying all odds in every competition as they progressed far on fronts.
It will be bitterly disappointing for the players and fans to look back on this amazing campaign and not have anything to show for it but the most important thing they have gained is the experience.
It is rare that a team with absolutely no recent European experience simply cruises to the final and snatches a place in next season’s Champions League – the most prestigious club competition in the world.
They have to suffer, face heartbreak and have controversial decisions go against them because that is what will help the players going forward.
It is brutal but that is football and at times this season – especially against Frankfurt – you could tell that the Irons were rookies at one of the highest levels.
They will use this season’s pain and come back much stronger having learnt a lot from it.
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