Column: Wasted opportunity at Old Trafford for West Ham in race for Europe

West Ham United's Tomas Soucek's shot is blocked by Manchester United's Luke Shaw

Tomas Soucek has his shot blocked by Manchester United's Luke Shaw - Credit: PA

What a wasted opportunity that defeat at Old Trafford was; virtually every result went for us this weekend but we failed to capitalise.

With that loss, Manchester United and Leicester are now surely too far out of reach. Our sights must now be solely set on catching Chelsea.

United were missing the likes of Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial and Edinson Cavani, they’re not particularly impressive at home and had played on Thursday in the Europa League.

Now while going to Old Trafford is never an easy task, it was set up for us to go there and lay down a real marker for our ambitions of playing Champions League football next season by at least coming away with a point if not all three.

Once again it seems David Moyes’ Achilles' heel is giving the "big six" sides far too much respect. The line-up was negative from the outset but surely when we somehow managed to get to half time still at 0-0, that was the time to introduce Manuel Lanzini and Said Benrahma - not when were already a goal down.

Michail Antonio and Victor Lindelof battle for the ball

Michail Antonio battles for the ball with Manchester United's Victor Lindelof - Credit: PA

Once we made those attacking changes we looked a far better side but by then it was too little too late. When it comes to the top sides Moyes is still too cautious and would rather attempt to stay in the game than make the bold changes to try to win it.

However, with 10 games to go we are three points off fourth spot with a game in hand and no-one could possibly have foreseen that at the start of the season. It’s been a tremendous campaign and a top four finish is still a realistic prospect.

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Arsenal on Sunday is now simply a must-win. They were very impressive in their win over Spurs but we cannot afford another slip. We cannot allow Chelsea to pull away from us or Everton/Spurs to overtake us.

Whatever happens from here it’s been a season of real progression and it’s a platform we can build on.

West Ham United's Vladimir Coufal and Manchester United's Fred

Vladimir Coufal and Fred during the Premier League match at Old Trafford - Credit: PA

Who knows when we’ll next have the opportunity to secure a top four finish? This is our chance and we simply have to take it.