Moyes wants to make history for 'unbelievable' supporters

  • by Staff Writer
  • Friday, 2nd June 2023

David Moyes says he is "very sorry" that West Ham's allocation for the Conference League Final is so insubstantial.

Less than 6,000 West Ham fans have officially been granted tickets for next Wednesday's final against Fiorentina, in which West Ham are hoping to land their first European trophy since 1965.

And Moyes also praised the travelling fans for their consistent support throughout what has at times proved to be a difficult campaign.

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"In the main, the supporters have been unbelievable here," he said. "They've been very supportive of me and the team.

"We've had two very good years, sixth and seventh in the Premier League, a semi-final and now a final. You’d have to go a long way back in West Ham’s history to see when that last happened.

"I'm very sorry that we can't get more people in the stadium. I watched Fiorentina vs Inter Milan last week, Fiorentina had incredible support and I think we would have had incredible support.

"I hope in the future, the stadiums could be bigger to host, but I understand for different reasons we are in a slightly smaller stadium. But, I have to say it shows you how serious the teams in the Conference League are taking it.

"The support both we and Fiorentina would've had would've been much greater had we had a bigger stadium. I hope the supporters get a nice bar and a place where they can sit and watch and hopefully enjoy."

And when asked how he was preparing for the game, Moyes admitted that his approach was similar to that of any regular fixture during the season - even though the prize is considerably greater.

"In football there are more managers who don’t get to finals than do, so you should appreciate and respect every one you get," he said. "Every one will be different. A British final could be different preparation to a European final.

"This is the first time we have done a European final. It feels special, it feels like a really big occasion. We want to make sure we have everything covered and go into the game in the best condition we possibly can be.

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"I don’t think we have done anything different or anything more than we have done before, because this is near enough the first one we have done. But I do feel that our experience in the semi-final last year will give us a bit of an indication of what to expect.

"Overall the players are in a really good place. They are ready and mentally, I see them in a good place. I hope that proves to be the case."

Meanwhile Moyes stressed that it would be "a big thrill" if he was to join fellow Scottish luminaries such as Bill Shankly and Jock Stein as Scottish managers having won European trophies.

"It would be hugely important for myself personally because my home is Scotland, that’s where I was bought up," he added. "I think the names you mention were names which were around Europe in a different era, one when Scotland had a host of top managers competing in the best leagues and competitions.

"I think Sir Alex [Ferguson] was the last one to win, not just as a Scottish manager but also as a British manager as well. So, it would be a big thrill for me if I could get my name alongside theirs. Many of them are greats in football, not just at their own clubs but throughout the world, their names are known wherever you go."

Last season's semi final second leg was marred by Moyes getting in trouble for kicking a ball at a ball boy, while earlier this week Roma boss Jose Mourinho was heavily criticised after he was witnessed swearing at officials following the Europa League Final penalty shootout defeat against Seville. It's a situation Moyes hopes doesn't re-occur this year.

"We have hopefully learnt some lessons from last year when we found it difficult," he said, when asked how important it would be to keep a lid on emotions. "We got a player sent off and probably we all lost our emotions, the way the game went.

"Ultimately football is about emotions. People want to see managers showing their commitment and energy to the team. Jose Mourinho is a serial winner and has proved to be that, but hopefully, we are able to keep our emotions in check. Hopefully getting to the final means we can perform well and show everything we can do.

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"Hopefully, everyone will look back and see what was said has been delivered. I believe the players have got a great opportunity to be remembered by everyone at this club.

"There is a new generation of young supporters developing in the East End of London. The club have moved to a 65,000 seater stadium which is full most weeks and shows the depth of feeling for West Ham in this part of London.

"If we can give those young supporters something to believe in, that they can reach finals and win them, it would be nothing but positive. The players we have got will give us every chance of doing so. We have got a really good group, strong international players, players who are hungry to succeed. I hope we can show that on Wednesday."

As for the challenge provided by Vincenzo Italiano's Fiorentina, who were beaten 2-1 by Inter in the Copa Italia last week and play their final Serie A fixture at Sassuolo tonight [Friday], Moyes believes there is little between the two teams in terms of quality.

"Fiorentina have such a big squad and they've been able to change their players," he said. "You see the teams have changed in many games, they are able to change and they have done. It may be a help or it may be a hindrance, we're not sure to what the outcome will be.

"The result will help maybe give you an idea but I think for all football clubs, whether it will be Italy or in England, the season has been really long due to the World Cup, due to lots of games being pushed in."

And with regards to Italiano's recent suggestion that he would resort to cynical tactics should things not be going Fiorentina's way, Moyes insisted that his team will always try to play football.

"I've got no real opinion on that," he commented. "That would be down to the referees to sort that out and not for us to have a huge opinion on it. We will try to play a fair game and that is always, from my point of view, the best way to do it."

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