Moyes calls for ‘bouncing’ atmosphere as West Ham aim for special night

When West Ham fans were sold the move to Stratford, it was on promises of big European knockout nights — and finally they have arrived.

The bumps along the way — fan protests and pitch invasions — were not part of the plan when the Hammers left Upton Park six years ago, but tonight West Ham realise a dream as six-time Europa League winners Sevilla come to town.

David Moyes is keen for fans to show just how potent a weapon the stadium can be as the Hammers look to overturn the 1-0 deficit from the first leg in Spain and ensure tonight is not a one-off.

“This is what West Ham supporters hoped for when we moved,” said Moyes. “They hoped for European nights and opportunities to come to big games, against big sides.

“In some ways we’ve done that, but I feel like I’ve just scratched the surface. I feel as if this can only be the beginning.The fans had better get used to it, because we’re going to have a lot more of these types of games.

“In the Premier League we’re challenging the top teams — and if we’re doing that in the Premier League, we can do that in other games.”

The Hammers pushed Sevilla in a tight first leg last week and have already upset the odds with wins over Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham at the London Stadium this season. This tie is far from over and they know they are capable of something special tonight.

Four years on from the debacle against Burnley, when fans stormed the pitch, wrestled with captain Mark Noble and hurled coins at the directors’ box, things will feel very different this evening.

Moyes has called on fans to replicate the bouncing atmosphere from Sevilla’s Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium in east London and drive them to a historic place in the quarter-finals.

David Moyes wants a ‘bouncing atmosphere’ from West Ham fans against Sevilla

/ Getty Images

“I have no doubt the fans will be there in numbers and good voice,” added Moyes. “We’ve had some fabulous atmospheres in the stadium and I’d expect this to be up there with them.”

If West Ham are to make a statement with their performance this evening, Moyes will need his key players fit and firing, and the Scot will make a late call on whether to start Michail Antonio and Aaron Cresswell.

The two trained separately from the group yesterday following their respective injuries against Aston Villa last weekend, but Moyes is hopeful they will feature, especially with Jarrod Bowen ruled out through injury.

Meanwhile, Kurt Zouma is set to start this evening, following the announcement yesterday that the RSPCA had begun the process of prosecuting him for attacking his cat.

Footage posted to social media last month showed the 27-year-old kicking and slapping his pet Bengal, and the defender is now set to face a day in court, alongside his brother, Yoan, who filmed the incident.

West Ham fined Zouma the maximum of two weeks’ wages at the time but allowed Moyes to continue to pick the France international for matches. The decision today has again been left to Moyes and Zouma is expected to start.

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