Photo by HANS PUNZ/APA/AFP via Getty Images

David Moyes’ West Ham United proved that they are a ‘force’ to be reckoned with during their 2-0 UEFA Europa League victory away at Rapid Vienna on Thursday night, interim coach Steffen Hofmann tells Sky Austria. 

The last time West Ham stepped onto the European stage, they lasted just 180 minutes, a team containing the likes of Javier Mascherano, Carlos Tevez and Yossi Benayoun bowing out in the first round after a 3-0 hammering at the hands of Palermo. 

But after a couple of embarrassing defeats in the qualification stage (the mere mention of Astra Giurgiu is enough to send shivers down the spine) arguably the finest Hammers side since the turn of the Century are certainly making up for their past failures.  

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An Andriy Yarmolenko header and a trademark Mark Noble penalty earned West Ham another well-deserved win in the Europa League proper, meaning the London giants have now picked up 13 points from a possible 15 in the group-stages. 

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“West Ham were a force,” admits Hofmann, standing in for the sacked Didi Kuhbauer.  

“I think that the two goals we conceded were just too cheap. Of course, West Ham was quite a stunner but you just can’t give away such cheap goals at that level. We have to do a lot better.” 

 “West Ham were a class above,” adds winger Marko Grull. “They dominated the game from the start and deserved to win 2-0.” 

Photo by Christian Hofer/Getty Images

Centre-half Maximilian Hofmann, meanwhile, was left rueing the concession of two goals in the final seven minutes of the first-half, admitting that Rapid Vienna could not fight back against a team with such ‘quality’ in their ranks.

Yarmolenko, who has been linked with a January move to Andriy Shevchenko’s Genoa, made his presence felt in Austria during a rare start, nodding home following a fine Nikola Vlasic cross before winning the penalty for Noble’s first-ever European strike. 

Teenager Sonny Perkins, meanwhile, very nearly marked his debut with a goal in the second half with Alex Kral also getting some much-needed minutes under his belt. 

Photo by Christian Hofer/Getty Images

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