David Moyes praised Mohammed Kudus after the Ghanaian marked his full West Ham United debut with a match-winning performance in Thursday’s UEFA Europa League Group A tie with FK TSC Bačka Topola at London Stadium.
The Irons fell behind to a sloppily conceded goal shortly after half-time, having dominated the opening 35 minutes without finding a way through the Serbs’ massed defensive ranks. However, Petar Stanić’s goal sparked the Hammers into life and Kudus forced Nemanja Petrović to put through his own net – he later claimed the goal himself – before heading in James Ward-Prowse’s corner to put Moyes’ men in front.
Ward-Prowse added another assist when his corner was powered in by substitute Tomáš Souček, getting the UEFA Europa Conference League champions’ third consecutive European campaign off to a winning start – albeit in slightly uncomfortable circumstances on a stormy night in east London.
Speaking on the impact of the Black Star, Moyes said: “I thought Mo started the game really well and the team was playing well in the opening 20 minutes. He faded away, but in the end, he came up with one and maybe two goals, I’m being told, so I’m really, really pleased for him.”
He added: “He’s made a good start, we like him a lot and we’ll edge him in when we get the opportunities in the right moments to do so. I’m pleased because we needed someone to come up with goals tonight and he was the one who did it.”
With a trip to fellow Europa League qualifiers Liverpool in the Premier League up next on Sunday, and a trip to fellow victors SC Freiburg – the Germans edging AEK Athens 3-2 in Greece – Moyes knows his team will need to be more clinical if they are to maintain their winning form of late and extend their unbeaten run of 16 European matches.