West Ham ready to go for the big 13


West Ham go into the match against  AZ Alkmaar after a fine win over Manchester United but the manager isn’t clear whether the win will work to our advantage.

We go into the first leg of the semi final with a twelve-game unbeaten run in the competition to protect, having won eleven matches and drawn just one fixture in Europe this season.

Speaking at Rush Green Training Ground, David Moyes spoke about the task presented by AZ Alkmaar, building on the win over Manchester United, and what it would mean to reach the first continental final of his managerial career.

Bowen and Moyes

This will be the toughest tie we have had so far as we bid for a final win which would also be worth around £15 million to the Hammers.

The match was sold out ten days ago and the Hammers fan base aill obviously have a huge say in how the game works out.

Moyes – discussing the game – said: I don’t know if the result over Manchester United will work to our advantage.But we hope that the result will give us the confidence that we have been missing at times this season. It was a great performance and the boys played ever so well and I am hoping we can back it up again.

I think we can breathe a little bit easier because of the great result we had at the weekend. And let’s be fair, our results in Europe have been really good, so we have to try and keep that going.

And if we do that then we have a great chance of reaching the final. But again, we have an opponent who we will in no way underestimate at all.

I think to reach any final for any team is a big thing. Everybody wants to try and reach the final and be successful and it is very difficult for any manager and any football club to be successful all the time. But we are trying.

It was a great season for us last year to get to the semi-final. And we have done amazingly well to get to a semi-final and hopefully, we go one step further and make a final.

I wouldn’t say we are big favourites for this game. I have a lot of respect for AZ Alkmaar and way they play and what they have got. I think they are having an amazing season and we have got a really tough opponent.

I think any Dutch teams that you play are always good. I think they are always good footballing teams and well-coached, so it will be a tough game for us.

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Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!"

Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon