West Ham manager David Moyes says reaching the Europa Conference League final could be the greatest managerial achievement -Dlight News

West Ham manager David Moyes says reaching the Europa Conference League final could be the greatest managerial achievement

West Ham manager David Moyes believes reaching the Europa Conference League could be the crowning achievement of his long managerial career.

The Hammers face Dutch club AZ Alkmaar in the semi-finals with the first leg in London on Thursday night.

West Ham have not reached a first European final in 47 years, while Moyes has never accomplished that feat as a manager.

Asked if reaching the final would be the biggest achievement of his career, Moyes said in his press conference: “I think it would. A European final? Could be, yes.”

Lucas Paquetá (right) celebrates scoring West Ham's second goal against Gent
West Ham is one step away from the Europa Conference League final

“I was lucky to reach the quarterfinals of the Champions League with Manchester United, I lost on penalties in the quarterfinals of the Europa League with Everton. Last season I was in the semifinals with West Ham. This year I’m in a semi-final again. So I want to try to go one step further.”

Moyes says West Ham will treat the game with the utmost severity, saying the importance of the Conference League was made clear when an emotional Jose Mourinho wept with joy after winning the competition with Roma 12 months ago.

“I mean Jose Mourinho’s probably series winner,” Moyes added. “Winning this trophy was very special for him and his football club.

“If I ever needed someone to show how tough he is, it would be Jose. He treated him like he was so important, there’s no way we’re going to treat him any less than that.”

Moyes in the favorites tag, on the advice of Sir Alex

The AZ team has an average age of 23.8 years and is the youngest in this Europa Conference League, but Moyes insists that his team will be forced to “work hard” in this tie.

Asked if his team is favorite to go through, Moyes said: “I wouldn’t say that. I have a lot of respect for AZ and the way they play and what they have.

AZ's Jesper Karlsson, center, with his face covered, celebrates after scoring his team's opening goal during the second leg of the Round of 16 Conference League football match between AZ and Lazio at the AZ stadium in Alkmaar, the Netherlands.  Thursday, March 16, 2023. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
The Hammers faced AZ Alkmaar in the semi-finals on Thursday

“They are having an amazing season. Any Dutch team you play with is good, they are good football teams and they are well trained. It will be hard work for us.”

Moyes believes, however, that his West Ham side are starting to come into their own this season amid a disappointing campaign that has seen the Hammers five points above the Premier League relegation zone.

The Scottish manager, who told Sky Sports last month that his big signings “have not worked out as well” as he would have liked, believes that his new players are starting to click.

“Sir Alex Ferguson always used to talk about this [being] the time of year when you had to be at your best,” added Moyes.

“Having your best form at this point in the season is always a good thing. I think we’re playing our best right now and I think we can improve a lot. I hope we can do that in the next few games.”

Asked why his team is in top form now, Moyes replied: “I’m starting to see what we signed with, which were absolute international players playing for their countries and guys who had talent and proved themselves in other leagues.

“Coming to the Premier League can make it difficult for people to settle. It’s not just us here, many clubs have the same situation.”

“But I do think that many of [our new signings] they are finding their way and are beginning to understand it. Fortunately, we’re doing much better.”

Bowen: Danny Dyer is putting pressure on me!

Meanwhile, West Ham striker Jarrod Bowen has joked that he feels pressure from Danny Dyer to perform on the pitch.

The Hammers star is dating Danni Dyer, daughter of TV and movie star Danny, and the couple are expecting twins this year.

Speaking to Moyes at his own press conference, Bowen said: “I’ve only been here three years and I feel a huge part of this club and I also feel like a fan. I’m one of them who wants to give them that success.

“Obviously, the old lady [Dyer] it’s on me every week!

“For everyone, for the whole club, it hasn’t been a great season, but staying in the Premier League is the main goal and bringing home a trophy for the fans would be a good end to a bad season, I would say.”

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