Former West Ham midfielder Joe Cole labels UEFA Conference League semi-final win as ‘SPECIAL achievement’ for David Moyes and Declan Rice after Pablo Fornals’ late strike
- Fornals’ late strike saw the Hammers reach the UEFA Conference League final
- The Irons will face Fiorentina in the final which will be held in Prague
Former West Ham United midfielder Joe Cole has labelled their UEFA Conference semi-final victory over AZ Alkmaar as a ‘huge achievement’ for the club.
David Moyes has led his side to a European final just a year after falling to defeat in the Europa League semi-final to Eintracht Frankfurt last season, but there were unpleasant scenes at full-time as AZ Alkmaar fans attacked the visiting supporters.
Speaking to BT Sport after the match, former West Ham star Cole admitted that the feat is ‘a special achievement’ for his former side.
‘It’s a special achievement,’ he said.
‘It’s a huge day for the club, for David Moyes the manager and for Declan Rice, a young captain who has come through the club.’
Pablo Fornals’ late strike sent West Ham to the Europe Conference League final in Prague
The Irons celebrated with their fans after AZ Alkmaar supporters attacked the away section
Joe Cole was full of praise for both David Moyes and Declan Rice for the ‘special achievement’
The Irons will play their first European final in 47 years after bitter disappointment last season.
Moyes will be hoping that his team can go one further than last year in the Europa League, where they fell to a semi-final defeat at the hands of Eintracht Frankfurt.
The head coach reminded his players of last season’s emotions when they fell, with captain Rice admitting that it was on his teammates’ mind.
‘The manager said about last year’s semi-final,’ Rice revealed. ‘How Frankfurt celebrated in front of us and won the game.
‘I don’t have good memories.’
The Hammers captain continued to discuss his personal desire to lift a European trophy with West Ham.
He continued: ‘When you get to a final you have to win. I was part of one for England and didn’t win, I know how that felt.
‘When I see other teams win trophies you can’t help but be envious. Seeing player’s celebrate, fans celebrate. I’ve been at West Ham since I was 14, it would be the icing on the cake.’
The midfielder has been heavily linked with a move away from the Hammers this summer and could see the European final as the perfect parting gift.
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