David Moyes was a proud and happy manager after seeing his West Ham United side overcome a succession of setbacks to win 3-1 at West Bromwich Albion.
The Hammers lost Lukasz Fabianski to injury in the warm-up, saw Declan Rice hit the post with an early penalty, then fell behind when Tomas Soucek diverted Matheus Pereira’s corner past Darren Randolph inside the opening half-hour.
To their credit, though, the Irons withstood a barrage from Sam Allardyce’s Baggies, who were roared on by 5,500 vociferous fans, and after Randolph had made a big save to deny Semi Ajayi, grabbed a vital victory through late goals from long-serving duo Angelo Ogbonna and Michail Antonio.
A win at The Hawthorns took the east Londoners back above Tottenham Hotspur – home losers to Aston Villa – into sixth place, and Moyes’ men now need just a point from their final game of the season against Southampton in front of 10,000 supporters at London Stadium, to qualify for the UEFA Europa League group stage.
I’ve got to say it’s been really tough and we’re all feeling the games and the kick-off times and the amount of games and we’re all really looking forward to a break, but the players have been brilliant and they’ve done their job.
It wasn’t as well as we’ve played and it was a different type of game but we needed to get the win and we did that tonight.
Losing Lukasz in the warm-up, missing a penalty kick and conceding and going a goal down to an own-goal were all blows, but we recovered from them.
We knew it would be a different sort of game from the other teams we had played, but they made it really hard for Liverpool on Sunday and made it really hard for us tonight.
But we just hung in there and we made sure we didn’t go a goal behind a second time after had got back to one-each, which would have made it difficult and eventually we just saw it through.
Tomas’s goal just before half-time made a big difference.
I didn’t think we had played that well in the first half at all and I think we made one or two opportunities, but I was more concerned that we looked fragile defensively and couldn’t cope with the physicality.
We had a word about it half-time and I thought we were much better in the second half and we defended the box great and were stronger with most of the corner kicks that came in.
So, from that point of view, it gave us a base to go and win it when we got the opportunities.
It’s great for me personally and I’m probably just relieved because, as a manager, you’re always just relieved at the end of it that we’ve got another win.
I think that’s 18 wins in the Premier League now, with ten away from home.
There were about 6,000 West Brom supporters in here tonight and they were really good, so that’s a challenge to the West Ham supporters now! Come on! I’ve got 10,000 of you coming on Sunday I need you to be as vocal.
The players have put in an incredible work ethic all year, so they need you behind them to help them along.
The boys are knackered in there and tired from the effort they’ve had to put in and the physicality, so they’re going to need the supporters to help them get through on Sunday.
Tonight’s win puts us in a great position but it’s not done and we know we have to take our chance on Sunday when we get it.