David Moyes says he is “absolutely thrilled” to have led West Ham United to the Europa Conference League final after seeing off AZ.
After winning the first leg of their semi-final 2-1 at the London Stadium last week, West Ham got the job done in Alkmaar with a 1-0 win. Pablo Fornals’ late goal ensured an aggregate victory of a 3-1 scoreline.
In turn, West Ham have reached a European final for the first time since the 1999 Intertoto Cup, which they won over two legs. They will now be aiming of becoming the first English side to win the Conference League, with Serie A’s Fiorentina the only obstacle standing in their way.
After the second leg, Moyes told BT Sport how he set the side up slightly deeper away from home to avert any AZ threat, having issued a rallying cry for the final.
He said: “We’re absolutely thrilled. It’s a big achievement for the club, but now it’s about going and winning it.
“AZ are very good at what they do, but I’m delighted we did it.
“AZ played a really good style, the Dutch football is really good. They gave us a shock in the first leg, and I knew if I didn’t set us up in a deeper block they could punish us.
“Going forward the idea is to be better. We’ve brought in a lot of international players to get better, but we’ve really struggled this season. We had to go back to what gets you wins, and thankfully we did that.”
West Ham will finish in the bottom half of the Premier League, but winning the Conference League would allow them to compete in Europe for a third consecutive season after also reaching the Europa League semi-final last term.
Van Persie delighted for David Moyes
Moyes was facing some pressure earlier this season because of West Ham’s poor domestic form. But he now has a chance to make a piece of history.
His former Man Utd striker Robin van Persie shared how much the manager deserves this moment.
Van Persie told BT Sport: “I’m really pleased for David Moyes. I worked with him for a year and he’s a fantastic person and coach. He loves the game.
“West Ham didn’t play a great match but defensively they did their job really well. This is how Moyes planned the game, I’m sure.
“I’m really happy for him. He deserves it.”
The Conference League final will take place on June 7 in Prague.