‘European football would help West Ham move to the next level’

Dylan Bregman is getting very excited at the prospect of a possible European tour

A West Ham defensive wall at the EPL match West Ham United v Burnley, at the London Stadium, London, UK on 16th January, 2021. English Premier League matches are still being played behind closed doors because of the current COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, and government social distancing/lockdown restrictions.

At game week 26 last season, we sat 18th on 24 points but fast forward a year and we were 21 points better off and looked great in fourth.

A European spot looks very possible and we’re loving it. it’s been a long time coming and David Moyes’ recruitment over the last three windows has helped us to be in this position.

As much as a European tour is all that many West Ham fans want, I worry whether we are in a position to have a successful run in both Europe and the Premier league, as well as balancing cup competitions. 

The biggest worry I have about Europe is our lack of squad depth. As it stands, David Moyes only has one striker, Michail Antonio. 

Antonio has struggled for years with hamstring injuries and it is worrying enough having him as our only striker in the Premier League. 

Our midfield options are limited too with Mark Noble the only real backup to our solid pairing of Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek. 

With an increased number of games (six group games at the least) we are likely to be hit with many more injuries and this may have a negative effect on our Premier league campaign. 

In response to this, it is likely that getting into Europe will lead to mass financial benefit to the club. 

Premier League prize money will be higher, the possibility for sponsorships will increase and as a result it is very possible that more money will be available to bolster our squad.

Whether you believe that this money will be spent by David Sullivan and David Gold is completely up to you. 

Due to our lofty position in the league, we have been linked to a very high calibre of player in recent weeks. 

Strikers such as Tammy Abraham and Danny Ings have been mentioned and due to the immense attraction of regular European football.  

Another worry that I have with playing European football is the possible drop in form in the Premier League.

 In recent years when teams start playing European football the increased travelling, game time and possible bad European form often takes a toll on Premier League performances. 

In 2017/18 Burnley finished in 7th position gaining qualification to the Europa League qualifying rounds. 

They managed to beat both Aberdeen and Istanbul Basaksehir over two legs, however, they lost to Olympiakos in the final qualifying round. 

At the same time as these qualifying matches, Burnley started their Premier League campaign and after five matches had only one point. 

They finished the season in 15th and their manager Sean Dyche claimed that their European run, albeit short, was a major factor of their disappointing season. 

This same slow start to the season could prove tough for West Ham as in previous years we have failed to find form after slow starts.  

We are completely different to Burnley though and this may prove to be no issue at all. 

As we all know, this season (due to COVID-19) has been different to normal and between December and February West Ham played twice a week many times. 

As such the increased travel and game time may not be an issue for the side, especially if our squad is strengthened. 

The last worry surrounds focus. The last time West Ham were in Europe we lost to Romanian side Astra Giurgiu in the qualifying rounds. 

I remember watching the two legs wondering whether the staff and players wanted to win the ties. The players seemed to lack enthusiasm and it looked like a chore playing abroad. 

However, we have an entirely different squad now and our performances and work ethic suggest that we would be up for the fight and would relish the chance of playing European football. 

It also seems as though there has been a lot more talk of European football than there was during the 2015/16 season. 

The players and staff seem a lot more driven to achieve it and I believe this shows that we will take the competition seriously. 

I believe European qualification is exactly what our club needs to step up and compete regularly with the traditional big six. 

With qualification, we should see improved depth and quality within the squad. We will become more attractive to players and investors and I truly think it will push us even further. 

Follow Dylan on Twitter @breggertelli

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