David Moyes referenced the line of questioning he received earlier when revelling in proving the West Ham doubters wrong, while Declan Rice took great delight in getting revenge for two Lyon incidents.
West Ham advanced to the semi-final stage of the Europa League after dismantling Lyon on their own turf. A nervy night was expected with the scores tied at 1-1 after the first leg. However, after weathering an early storm, the Hammers took control and never looked back.
Craig Dawson set West Ham on their way when steaming on to nod home from a corner. Declan Rice then doubled the lead on the stroke of half time via the aid of a handy deflection.
And within minutes after the break, Jarrod Bowen had made it 3-0 on the night when clinically converting following superb work from Michail Antonio and Pablo Fornals in the build-up.
Their prize is a semi-final clash with Eintracht Frankfurt who produced a shock when defeating Barcelona 3-2 (4-3 on aggregate) at the Camp Nou.
Speaking to BT Sport after the match, Moyes said: “Immensely proud of the players and the performance and probably more so, when you look back, of the performance in the second-half of the first leg when we were down to 10 men, which looked a really poor decision.
No one thought we’d progress – Moyes
“The players stuck at it, never gave up, got a goal in front before we conceded. I don’t think anyone, when they were putting questions to me earlier, thought we were going to make it tonight.
“If you have a good team spirit… all managers would like to get that and it is not easy. It mainly comes from winning. Good results builds it.
“We have a great group of lads. I’m lucky. They have been great in the time I have been here. And the journey in two years from trying to avoid relegation and now we are talking about getting to the semi-final of a major European tournament. It is fabulous and we are all going to look forward to it.
“It is huge what we have done in two years. We have not won any trophies yet but we are trying to compete and to qualify from European football again, if we can.
“To be getting to these later stages, we have beaten big clubs that are used to European football. You don’t win anything for tonight but it was a big moment for us. Winning 3-0 away from home in Europe – really good result.
“When we were qualifying last year and you could hear all the West Ham supporters shouting ‘we are going on a European tour’. They’ve had a pretty good tour this year – Belgium, Croatia, France tonight. We’ve been to Spain. I’m sure they’ll all be looking forward to going to Germany as well.”
West Ham goalscorers Declan Rice and Jarrod Bowen also spoke to the press, with Rice initially telling BT Sport: “It’s special. Very, very special.
“We knew it was a tough place to come, but we knew with what we had on the pitch, our attacking players and what we had seen in the first game with them defensively, we could score goals tonight.
“To get a 2-0 lead and then come out early in the second half and Jarrod to put that one in the net is a special feeling. For all the fans, it is such a great night.
“When it is half-time and it is 2-0 your heart is racing. You’re thinking about it still being 0-0 as you need to go out and give another string performance.
“If you can’t get up for these games you shouldn’t be playing. The roar from the warm-up, it was spine-tingling and it gives you that fire in your stomach.”
Rice revels in Lyon revenge
When explaining his side’s added motivation to sink Lyon, Rice referenced the winking incident from the first leg.
Lyon forward Moussa Dembele was caught winking after his tumble under minimal contact resulted in Aaron Cresswell’s red card.
Rice mentioned the wink before revealing the actions of Lyon’s social media team was also used as motivational material.
“Their Twitter admins were saying they don’t know how they are not going to beat us,” continued Rice. “But those things come back to bite you. We put in a performance and now West Ham are in the semis.”
On the prospect of facing surprise package Frankfurt, Rice concluded: “For Frankfurt to beat Barca, they are a good side. We will be ready for whatever. We want to reach the final.”
Bowen added: “They [Lyon] came out strong and we had to deal with crosses into the box.
“But big Daws [Craig Dawson] from a set-piece, which we have worked on a lot. Dec [Rice] with another goal as well. It can be a horrible score to be 2-0 up. They get one back and they are back in it.
“We knew the first 15 minutes of the second half were big and we had to deal with the pressure. The way they defended, the space was there and I got in and thankfully got the third.”