Everything went wrong for us says West Ham's Coufal

West Ham United line up ahead of the Europa League semi-final, second leg match in Frankfurt

West Ham United line up ahead of the Europa League semi-final, second leg match in Frankfurt - Credit: PA

Crestfallen West Ham sadly saw their epic Europa League journey hit the buffers at Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday night.

And returning to London this morning, Vladimír Coufal could only reflect on a frustrating evening of disappointment in Germany.

“Almost everything that could’ve gone wrong, did go wrong,” grimaced the 26-cap Czech Republic international following 10-man West Ham’s exit at the last-four stage.

“What can you say after losing a semi-final? Every head is down in the dressing room and we’re just trying to find some positives from somewhere.”

Coming into the return at Deutsche Bank Park already trailing 2-1 from last Thursday’s first leg at London Stadium, a difficult job quickly turned into mission impossible within the opening 26 minutes, once Aaron Cresswell received his second red card of the competition before match-winning Colombian striker Rafael Borré then put the Germans two goals ahead on aggregate.  

“Getting that red card after 20 minutes meant that we had to totally change our game plan,” added Coufal after the 1-0 defeat.

“I haven’t seen a slow-motion replay of the incident so I can’t judge the situation but once they’d also scored their goal, we weren’t in a comfortable position.

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“After that, we tried to do our maximum but Eintracht Frankfurt always had their extra man and, while Aaron is obviously disappointed, we all are. It wasn’t just his mistake, though, and we win together and we lose together as a team.

“We now wish Frankfurt good luck in Seville although it’s a big shame that we couldn’t get there ourselves,” continued the 29-year-old who joined the Hammers from Slavia Prague in October 2020. 

“It’s almost impossible for a team like West Ham United to qualify for the Champions League, so it was a big shame that we couldn’t get to the final and now we’ve given that opportunity to Eintracht.”

Despite all their Frankfurt frustration at coming so near yet so far to reaching the club’s first major European final in over 46 years, the seventh-placed Hammers must now dust themselves down as they return to Premier League action at Carrow Road against already relegated Norwich City on Sunday (2pm).

“We need to stay focused for our next three games,” said Coufal, clearly hoping he will still be needing his passport next season, albeit for the more likely eventuality of UEFA Conference League football as opposed to the Europa League.

“We must concentrate on still being able to qualify for Europe thorough our league position, starting with a win at Norwich.”