West Ham manager Slaven Bilic hailed his side’s belief and character after they turned around a 2-1 deficit to beat Manchester United 3-2 in the final game at Upton Park on Tuesday.
The London club will move to the Olympic Stadium for next season, but gave their home of over 100 years a memorable send-off with a thrilling triumph that boosted their Europa League hopes.
After Diafra Sakho opened the scoring for the hosts, a second-half double from Anthony Martial seemed to have Louis van Gaal’s men on course for a victory that would have taken them a point clear of neighbours Manchester City in the race for Champions League football.
But West Ham turned things around in the final 15 minutes, Michail Antonio levelling matters four minutes after Martial’s second, while Winston Reid settled a memorable contest with a header that proved too strong for United goalkeeper David De Gea to handle.
“It was big pressure for us. We have had a great season and I told the guys however it finished in the last few games it has been a great season for West Ham,” Bilic told Sky Sports.
“We were under pressure still, we didn’t want to lose our last game. We just wanted to win it and this was a win of character.
“We didn’t stop believing. We knew they were highly motivated because they could have leapt above Manchester City.
“We totally deserved it. It was a great night, it is history, not just a game, it is against them, fighting for Europe, late night game. All the boxes you need for a special type of game was tonight.”
Captain Mark Noble expressed pride in his team-mates, saying: “It was written in the stars tonight honest, three fantastic goals, sheer determination and the will not to lose.
“I’m just so proud of the players, they were phenomenal. We’ve just got that spirit that we never look out of the game, it was written in the stars for this fantastic place.”
Match-winner Reid added: “To finish with a victory against a magnificent team like Manchester United, it’s brilliant for us. It was nice to finish off an era in this way.”