Tony Cottee gives his verdict on West Ham's FA Cup exit to Manchester United

West Ham United Gate

The former Hammers striker admits the club were off their game on Wednesday night but says they should view reaching the last eight as an achievement.

Former West Ham United striker Tony Cottee has told the club's official website that Slaven Bilic's side were off their game in the FA Cup defeat to Manchester United on Wednesday night, but insists that even reaching the last eight of the competition is indicative of the fine season they have enjoyed.

An out-of-sorts Hammers side lost 2-1 to United in the last ever cup tie at Upton Park to spoil their own party as James Tomkins' late header wasn't enough after goals from Marcus Rashford and Marouane Fellaini.

That result was a rare disappointment in what has been a successful season for West Ham, with Bilic leading the club to challenge for a first ever qualification for the Champions League and marquee signing Dimitri Payet taking the Premier League by storm.

However, Cottee has backed the players to bounce back from the setback and insists that having put together such a cup run is an achievement in itself.

The former striker, who scored 145 goals in 335 games across two spells at Upton Park, told the club's website: "It was a great opportunity for us to get to Wembley and for whatever reason, I don’t think we played our best stuff. I think it was more of a case of us being off our game as opposed to them being that good, to be honest.

"It was disappointing but we will hopefully bounce back. It’s been an excellent season overall though, and when you look back, you can say getting to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup is still an achievement in itself. That doesn’t happen all the time.

"The league form has been really good, we’ve generally been consistent and we’ve had some fantastic away performances too. We haven’t lost at home since August in the league, so hopefully it’s a blip. Personally, I want to see us playing in Europe next season, as that’s the part of the next stage in our progression as a club."

Bilic's side must try to pick themselves up from the disappointment of their cup exit and gear up for a trip to league leaders Leicester City this weekend.

One saving grace of missing out on progression in the cup is that the Hammers can now concentrate fully of qualifying for Europe next season, with the club currently sitting in sixth, five points behind Manchester City in fourth with six games left.

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