West Ham assistant lauds players' focus after League Cup win

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Carabao Cup Third Round - West Ham United v Hull City - London Stadium, London, Britain - September 22, 2020. West Ham United assistant manager Alan Irvine. Pool via REUTERS/Alastair Grant

(Reuters) - West Ham United assistant manager Alan Irvine has praised his side for staying focused to beat Hull City 5-1 in the League Cup on Tuesday after news that manager David Moyes and players Issa Diop and Josh Cullen had tested positive for COVID-19.

News of the positive tests came shortly before kick-off, with all three leaving the London Stadium to return home.

Diop and Cullen were replaced by Harrison Ashby and Jack Wilshere in the starting lineup and the third-round tie went ahead as scheduled, with Sebastien Haller and Andriy Yarmolenko both scoring twice and Robert Snodgrass also finding the net.

“It was vitally important that the players were prepared psychologically and ready to go out and perform,” Irvine said. “This was an opportunity for them to impress and they certainly did that.

“There were no players discussing it or looking for excuses about what was going on. No players were thinking the game couldn’t go on, it was all positive,” he said.

“I am not worried, the mood after the game was one of excitement, they know they played well and did themselves a load of good going forward,” Irvine said.

West Ham will face Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League on Sunday.

Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru;Editing by Peter Rutherford