David Moyes ranks West Ham’s elimination over Sevilla in the Europa League on Thursday among the most special nights in his time at the club.
Andriy Yarmolenko’s 112th-minute winner gave the Hammers a 2-0 win on the night, with the tie locked at 1-1 on aggregate after 90 minutes, following Tomas Soucek’s first-half goal.
West Ham have now progressed to their first European quarter-finals since the 1980-81 Cup Winners’ Cup, where they lost to Dinamo Tbilisi.
From surviving Premier League relegation in 2019-20 to Thursday’s elimination of the six-time Europa League holders in Sevilla, Moyes was quick to bring it all into perspective.
“This will be as high as we have had,” he told BT Sport post-match. “We have had other nights, avoiding relegation was an incredible high but thankfully we have moved on from that.
“Beating a serial winner of this competition made it a bit more special. They just keep going. You could see the resilience in them. We keep on going.
“Nights like this really help you build. I thought Sevilla were probably favourites for the tournament. For us to beat them over two legs is an incredible result.”
These European Nights pic.twitter.com/PvL9h4tqJP
— Declan Rice (@_DeclanRice) March 17, 2022
Hammers midfielder Declan Rice believes confidence is flowing through the club, and is comfortable with any potential opponent, including Barcelona – who progressed past Galatasaray earlier on Thursday.
“I’ll take anyone [in the quarter-finals],” he told BT Sport. “There’s no one to fear. Sevilla were probably the favourites. We can go anywhere and get a result. Teams come here knowing they’re in for a game.
“It would be special to go there [to Barcelona]. That’s what this club deserves, there’s a big buzz around the place. David Moyes deserves massive credit.
“I’m lost for words. Walking around the pitch, taking it in. I love West Ham fans. They care so much about this club. They demand 100 per cent and if you do that, they treat you as one of their own. It was special to be on the pitch tonight.”
After scoring upon his return against Aston Villa on the weekend, Yarmolenko’s winner provided a poignant moment amid the backdrop of armed conflict in his native Ukraine, according to Rice.
“Yarmolenko was a little bit emotional away from the lads afterwards,” Rice said. “For what he’s been through to perform like this is a credit to him – his desire, the way he chased players and scored two crucial goals.
“He deserves this. He’s stepped up, I’m delighted for him.”
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