West Ham United have a massive task on their hands at London Stadium next Thursday if they are to rescue their European campaign.

But David Moyes still believes his side can defy the odds after substitutes Jonas Hofmann and Victor Boniface stepped from the bench to give Bayer Leverkusen a late 2-0 victory at Bay Arena last night. 

“We may be two goals down but we’re certainly not out of it,” said the Hammers boss after the heart-breaking UEFA Europa League, quarter-final, first-leg defeat.

“Certainly, we’re still in with a shout but we definitely need to get the first goal next week because that’ll make a huge difference to the tie.

“Overall, I felt that we did a good job but Bayer Leverkusen have got a habit of getting late goals and as much as I tried to tighten it up, they still managed to score.

“Forget the Europa League, we were playing a good UEFA Champions League team tonight and, having watched their matches, knew they’d already given a top team like Bayern Munich two tough games this season.”

Indeed, with Xabi Alonso’s side already sitting 16 points clear at the top of their domestic Bundesliga, the Germans extended their unbeaten league and cup run to 42 matches with this European victory over Moyes’ men.

And the Hammers' tricky task will be made all that more difficult without the suspended duo of Lucas Paquetá and Emerson next week.

The boys from Brazil both received their third yellow cards in this season’s tournament for late lunges on Amine Adli with the Scot, in particular, fuming at Paquetá’s first-half booking by Portuguese official, Artur Dias.

“I was really disappointed with their bench and how they reacted to the challenge,” he frowned.

“They all should’ve kept away from the touchline and just let the referee make his own decision. It was poor and a team like Bayer Leverkusen certainly don’t need to do things like that. Lucas will now be a huge miss for us in the second leg.”

Previously, West Ham have memorably overturned one-goal, European first-leg deficits against Sevilla and SC Freiburg but this time around the job in hand has been made doubly difficult by those two late Leverkusen strikes inside the final eight minutes.

With a sell-out crowd backing the Hammers in the 37th match of their three-season European campaign, the Claret and Blue army will certainly need to play their part if the Hammers are to produce a victory from up their sleeves and make it a hat-trick of semi-finals in European competition.

“We definitely need to come up trumps next week,” concluded Moyes.

“But as I say, get that first goal and it’ll change the whole complexion of the tie.”