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Moyes desperate to extend West Ham’s ‘special’ Europa League adventure

D

avid Moyes is in no doubt that his West Ham side have what it takes to come from behind and reach the Europa League final tomorrow night – and has set his sights on extending his father’s European tour in the process.

The Hammers trail Eintracht Frankfurt 2-1 following last week’s first leg in London and must produce a famous comeback to set up a final meeting with either Rangers or RB Leipzig in Seville next month.

Moyes’ 86-year-old father, David Snr., has travelled to watch his son’s side on several occasions during the Hammers first run to a major European semi-final since 1976 and will be at Deutsch Bank Park on Thursday evening.

“It would be special,” Moyes said, when asked what masterminding a turnaround in front of his dad would mean. “It would be even better if it were the final! He wants it to be the final, so do I, and we all know when we get to 86 or 87 we’re all hoping somebody takes us to the football.

“The biggest thing is that he enjoys it, and for me that we get to the final.”

The Hammers’ success over the past two seasons has been, in part, a redemption story for Moyes, whose career seemed to be in decline after difficult spells at Manchester United and Sunderland, before West Ham decided against renewing his contract at the end of his first stint in charge.

The 59-year-old has transformed the Irons’ fortunes during his second spell, turning the club from contenders for relegation into contenders for European glory and says Thursday’s game epitomises both their rise and his resurgence.

“I’ve been to two quarter-finals: a Champions League quarter-final with Manchester United and one with Everton in this competition,” he said.

“To be in a semi-final with West Ham is huge for the club and I’m thrilled to be in charge of the team. It wasn’t too long ago fighting relegation, it’s been a great climb and I don’t see why it can’t continue.

“There are games throughout your career and sometimes, whenever you get to a big one, you think this is the biggest one.

“But there’s lots of big games, lots of ups and downs. It’s hard to be a winner all the time because everyone is fighting for that prize. But when you get this close you are thinking: ‘Is this my turn, my chance?’ I hope this is my turn.”

Moyes also insists that his side will not be inhibited by what is expected to be a hostile atmosphere tomorrow night, Eintracht Frankfurt’s fans renowned for their support having even taken over large sections of the Nou Camp when a reported 30,000 flooded the ground to watch their side beat Barcelona in the quarter-final.

“I actually think we’ve enjoyed the atmospheres in the stadiums,” the Scot said. “We had an incredible atmosphere in Seville [in the last-16]. I’ve watched several games here – the national team, Frankfurt – and a lot of the atmospheres in the stadium have been great.

“This is what the players want and what we want. For two years we’ve been watching with nobody in the stadiums. Football is for the supporters and we want them to make a great atmosphere. Even though we’re the away team, we’re really looking forward to what Eintracht Frankfurt are going to show us in the stadium.

“It’s a big game for me as well and the players, any player, anybody who’s played football will tell you the semi-final of a European competition is huge for anybody. It’s big for me as well. I want to take the team to the final. We believe that if we get it right we can do so, so we have to manage that.”

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