David Moyes eyes another ‘magical’ run as West Ham begin Europa League campaign

David Moyes says he has an ‘inner glow’ after last season’s success  (Getty Images)
David Moyes says he has an ‘inner glow’ after last season’s success (Getty Images)

David Moyes says the “magical” experience of winning the Europa Conference League last season has given him reason to challenge West Ham to lift the Europa League trophy this term.

The Hammers qualified for Europe’s second-tier competition by virtue of winning the Conference League, and begin their Europa League campaign on Thursday when they host Serbian league leaders TSC Backa Topola.

“To be in a semi-final and a final in two [successive] years is a big thing in Europe,” Moyes reflected. “I’m going to try and do it again if I can. I hope we can do it again, I really do, because of the magical moment. To be fortunate enough to win a European trophy doesn’t happen every day.”

He added about last season’s triumph in Prague: “I’ve got to say, there’s an inner glow about me because I know getting that victory means so much.”

Speaking about the calibre of this season’s Europa League, Moyes said: “You need to look at the teams. To have Liverpool and Brighton in the competition you’re in — just talking about the British teams — and we’re also waiting on whoever finishes third in their group from the Champions League and back into this league as well.”

West Ham have no injuries or doubts ahead of welcoming TSC to the London Stadium, but they will be without new signing Edson Alvarez due to a suspension that carries over from last season when he was sent off against Union Berlin while playing for Ajax in the Europa League.

However, Tomas Soucek believes West Ham have put together a strong-enough squad so as to be no weaker despite the Mexican’s absence.

“I heard that he is suspended two or three days ago. He told me that he can’t play,” Soucek said. “But our squad is very big and very strong, so even if we have more than one misses, we can still be a fully strong team.”

“I honestly feel the squad is stronger than it was a few years ago. If you win something, you are more experienced. When the toughest times come, you can show what you have achieved.

“I played with Declan [Rice] for three and a half years. There are many new players. We also have new coaching staff. We are all together now, and I think at the training sessions it all looks very good. I just hope we translate [our strong Premier League form] to the Europa League.”