George Parris: This rollercoaster could come to a shuddering halt without investment

There have been many times this season where we really needed to rest players

David Moyes (West Ham manager) 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.

What next for West Ham under David Moyes? Get your crystal balls out – it’s hard to predict right now. One thing we can say for certain is for us to continue on this journey, recruitment this summer is going to be vital.

How many times recently have we all mentioned the importance of an upcoming transfer window, and how many times have we been left disappointed? But we simply must add players to this squad or we could well find ourselves in a relegation battle next season.

I think we are looking at up to six players that Moyes will need to add to the squad when you take into account the players who will be leaving this summer. But, now more than ever, we need these new signings to come in and hit the ground running from the off.

After the victory away at Norwich, it looks likely that we will secure European football for next season. But again, personnel is going to be key. There have been many times this season where we really needed to rest players after they’d played in Europe and we weren’t able to.

If we finish seventh and qualify for the Conference League, we really should take it for what it is – European football. I don’t think the lads will go out against Man City and Brighton and not go for it because they don’t want to play in the Conference League – especially as qualification for the Europa League is still up for grabs.

A tough ask

I honestly didn’t think we would get as far as we did in the Europa League this season; How many of us could honestly say we thought we’d make it to the last four? To get through the group stages and then all the two knockout stages before the semi final – it’s a tough ask and that’s before you even consider the Champions League sides dropping into the competition too.

Before the Frankfurt game, I’m sure many of you like me thought we were still very much in it because we only had to score one goal. Over the course of 90 minutes, I knew we’d get chances, especially with set pieces. The biggest concern for me was making sure that they didn’t score as well but I went into the game feeling optimistic.

I felt like we started the game well and handled the pressure but once Cresswell was sent off and they scored, it was a mountain for us to climb. In all honesty, we could’ve called the game there and then but fair play to the lads for hanging in there.

We even had a decent spell in the second half where if people had only then tuned in, they wouldn’t have been aware that it was 11 against 10. But we were always playing catch up in this semi final – pretty much from the first minute of the first leg at the London Stadium.

The red changed the game

With Cresswell’s sending off, it was a sending off. If that had been the other end of the pitch and Antonio was going through, we would have wanted their player sent off. VAR was spot on with this decision – that’s what it’s there for. But the red card totally changed the game. Hindsight is a wonderful thing but perhaps he should’ve just got goalside and not try to attack the ball. Their player didn’t have it under control, it was bouncing. Cresswell could’ve tried to hold him up and hope back-up would’ve arrived in time.

But look, we all make mistakes and he’s got to learn from it. I’m sure if he is in the same position again, he’ll do something different. I know people are disappointed with how it all ended but it’s been a fantastic journey.

The players performed so well in Europe and I hope we are able to take this form into our final two games and see where it takes us. If it secures Conference League football, then so be it, we should all embrace it. We go again. It’ll give us more games and European experience and that’s vital for all our squad, especially the youngsters.

Hopefully we’ll have a bigger squad next season that will enable Moyes to rotate a bit more.

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