David Moyes said the work done at West Ham over the past two years has been “enormous” after reaching the Europa League semi-finals, while Declan Rice highlighted the “incentives” that have driven the team to victory.
The Hammers beat Lyon 3-0 in the Europa League quarter-final second leg in France, drawing a 4-1 overall draw to set up a final four-way meeting with Eintracht Frankfurt.
It is a continuation of the remarkable form of recent years when Moyes led West Ham from the brink of relegation to the first European semi-final since 1976.
said IT Sports“I’m proud of the players and the performance, and probably even more, with the second half performance at the London Stadium last week where we dropped to 10 and apparently had a mediocre decision.
“The players have stayed loyal, they never gave up, they scored a goal before we made any concessions. When you were asking me questions before, I don’t think anyone thought we’d make it tonight.
“We have a very good group, I’m lucky. They’ve been great since I’ve been here and trying to avoid relegation in two years and now we’re talking about reaching the semi-finals of a major European tournament, that’s great and we’ll all be looking forward to it.
“What we did in two years is huge. We haven’t won trophies yet but we are trying to join and participate in European football again if possible.
“To get to these final stages, we beat Sevilla and Lyon since the group stage, which are big clubs used to European football.
“But we’re going back, you don’t win anything for tonight but it was a great moment for us. A 3-0 away win in Europe – a very good result. »
When asked if West Ham can now be considered the tournament favourite – especially after semi-finals rivals Frankfurt knocked Barcelona out of contention – Moyes said: “We are not favourites, but I want players to think they are.
“I want the players to gain confidence.
But the season is changing, we have injuries and we played a makeshift defense tonight. Three kids that could be considered a starter weren’t going tonight.
“Thanks to the team’s ethic and performance, we were all able to come here and get a result.”
Rice: A very special evening | “We had the motivation to win”
West Ham captain Declan Rice was among the scorers six minutes after Craig Dawson’s header opened on Thursday night.
Jarrod Bowen added West Ham’s third shortly after the break to secure their place in the Europa League last quarter.
“It’s special. It’s very, very special,” Rice said. IT Sports. We knew it was a tough place to come to, we knew they had the best individual quality, but with what we had on the pitch, our offensive players and what we saw with them defensively in the first game, we knew we could do it. score a goal tonight
“You shouldn’t be playing football if you can’t get up for these games. The roar of warming was dizzying and it gives that fire in your stomach to go out and play.
“There were some incentives for us. Dembele winked at the camera in his first standing, and then Twitter executives said they didn’t know how to get through, but those things are coming back to bite you.
“We kept quiet, we performed, and now West Ham is in the semi-finals… A great night for all the fans.”
Nor will Rice and his teammates underestimate their next opponent. Even though it was a bad night for Barça, you still have three goals against them.
“We will be ready for anything. Two more games but we know what we want – to reach the final and give our all.”
West Ham’s excellent away performance
Charlotte Swamp from Sky Sports:
“There will be nerves before any quarter-final return to Europe. But given West Ham’s five consecutive away losses in all competitions and three changes to the defensive line from the first leg, perhaps the pressure has increased a bit.
“But it turned out that there was nothing to worry about as West Ham put in an excellent away performance to secure their place in the last four Europa Leagues.
“Despite the defensive changes, West Ham were always there to stop a talented Lyon attack that included Moussa Dembele, Houssem Aouar and Karl Toko Ekambi. Even when they gave their best in the first half hour, the Hammers tackled every task.
“Maybe one of Lyon’s mistakes was trying to use the ball in the air too often. West Ham has some great players on their side and they won most of those battles in the air, even if the presence of Kurt Zouma wasn’t going to make them stronger.
“On the other hand, they were devastatingly affected by Lyon’s defensive shortcomings – all three scorers were unmarked for their goals.
“Craig Dawson was ahead of Dembele, Declan Rice had plenty of room at the top of the field to shape his shot, and Jarrod Bowen’s run was not chased or followed until it was too late by Castello Lukeba.
“In all three cases, West Ham took all the advantage. West Ham had fewer shots but more on target. 14 of Lyon’s 17 shots were either off-target or blocked, which is how good David Moyes’ side is. He was showing his defense.
“Then there were the simple things – West Ham wanted him more. They haven’t reached a European semi-final since 1976 and you see how important it is for them to get to the next stage at the end of each draw.
“It could be a Hollywood end for Mark Noble, one of his last games could potentially be the Europa League final in Sevilla on May 18. The winning goal in overtime? Stranger things have happened.”