Thomas Tuchel claimed Reece James' development is "far from over" after the right-back signed a new long-term contract with Chelsea.

James has emerged as a key player in Tuchel's Chelsea side since he took over last January, driving forward from a wing-back role or filling in on the right of the German's favoured three-man backline, and has made five Premier League appearances this season.

The England international penned a new five-year contract with the Blues on Monday, which reportedly makes him the highest-paid defender in their history. 

Speaking ahead of Chelsea's Champions League opener with Dinamo Zagreb, Tuchel expressed his delight at the Blues' ability to tie down one of their prized assets.

"Of course, he's a very decisive player for us and he's an academy player, and we told you many times how important he is," Tuchel said.

"I think his development is far from over, there's a lot to learn for him and there's a lot to come,

"But of course, we're happy to have a key player with us for so many years."

On the domestic front, Chelsea have claimed 10 points from their first six Premier League outings, which have contained a series of controversial decisions.

Last month, the decision to allow two contentious Tottenham goals in a fiery 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge led Tuchel to declare referee Anthony Taylor should no longer officiate Chelsea's games, comments which saw him fined by the Football Association (FA).

On Saturday, meanwhile, West Ham had a potential last-gasp equaliser against the Blues denied by a VAR review after a collision between Edouard Mendy and Jarrod Bowen, a decision David Moyes described as "scandalous" as he accused Mendy of feigning injury.

Asked to comment on the plethora of perceived mistakes made in recent weeks, Tuchel asked: "What can I say now to be clear and not pay a fine again? Where is the line? 

"Maybe it's better if other people talk about it, our last three home games were like… I don't need that anymore. Red cards, VAR decisions, goals given, decisions not taken where it's obvious to take them.

"Speaking about the last game, I understand the frustration, I understand the discussions about this decision. For me, it's not a 100 per cent decision. It was against Tottenham, it was not now.

"I was happy that the referee got the chance to have a review on the pitch and then it is his decision, we will never have a game without mistakes but at least he gave everyone the feeling that he took the decision.

"I understand the frustration, now it's maybe not on me to comment on it too much but I think the quality of the mistakes, nobody is happy with that."

Pressed on Moyes' comments about Mendy, Tuchel highlighted the FA's refusal to punish the Irons boss, adding: "I did not hear the accusations and you know what happened to me when I spoke about the referee… it was pretty expensive.

"I told you after that I will not comment anymore. I can understand his frustrations, his point of view, and we'll leave it there."

Chelsea have been inconsistent throughout the season's early weeks, and Tuchel believes Tuesday's trip to Zagreb is an ideal opportunity for the Blues to kick-start their campaign.

"We are ourselves in a moment where we need to improve. We are not fully happy with the results," he said.

"We are not fully happy with our performances, so we need to take the next step and it's Champions League so it's very exciting. 

"We are very aware of what the challenge is, to play the first match away in a group stage is always difficult, it can always end up in complicated situations, but I think it's very important that we accept it and play a humble match.

"We will accept the challenge and we will accept the fight, and then we can also have the belief and trust that we are able to win, but we need to perform, for sure."

David Moyes railed against a "scandalous" VAR decision after West Ham were denied a dramatic equaliser in a 2-1 defeat to Chelsea, though Thomas Tuchel agreed with the call to disallow Maxwel Cornet's late strike.

Chelsea were staring at back-to-back defeats when Michail Antonio gave West Ham a second-half lead at Stamford Bridge, but Ben Chilwell and Kai Havertz stepped off the bench to turn the contest around with a goal apiece.  

The drama was not done there, however, as Hammers substitute Cornet had a fine right-footed effort chalked off after Jarrod Bowen was adjudged to have fouled Eduoard Mendy at the death. 

Moyes has now failed to win in 18 Premier League trips to Chelsea – the joint-longest winless streak managed by any coach at a single team in the competition (also Moyes at Arsenal).

The West Ham boss was furious with the decision and accused Mendy of feigning injury after the incident, declaring: "You have seen it, it is a scandalous decision.

"It's absolutely rotten from one of the supposedly elite referees - it doesn't say much about whoever sent him over from VAR as well - it is an unbelievable decision against us.

"We feel we got back to 2-2 and it [the loss] was not down to anything we have done. I support a lot of the VAR stuff.

"I actually think the goalkeeper dives, he is faking an injury because he cannot get to the next one, he did the same on the first goal as well. The referee somehow gets that so wrong it is incredible."

West Ham midfielder Declan Rice also made his displeasure clear on social media after the match, tweeting: "That's up there with one of the worst VAR decisions made since it's come into the game. Shambles."

But Moyes' counterpart Tuchel backed Andy Madley's decision to overturn the goal, telling the BBC: "The momentum of luck is always present, you can never plan things, you can never be sure in a league like this, anything can be turned upside down in any second.

"We were lucky today to get the VAR decision in our favour, which was for me the correct decision. But as we have discussed many times, the decisions don't always go your way."

Chelsea came back to win a Premier League match after conceding the game's first goal after the break for the first time since January 2009 (2-1 v Stoke City), and Tuchel was delighted with the Blues' response after they were beaten at Southampton on Tuesday.

"We wanted to restart the season, turn the game around and keep the three points here," he added.

"I never see a spectacular game against them. It's so, so hard to find spaces, to create spaces, to create chances. They defend deep, they defend with bodies, discipline and physicality.

"It's so, so hard to find a consistent rhythm, and if you lack a little bit of belief like we do, it's even harder. Then you go 1-0 down, this is almost impossible.

"To keep believing is very important, and to get the opener from the bench from Chilwell, and then from Kai the decisive goal, is so good.

"We wanted to define ourselves as a team who play with team spirit and to have a huge influence from the bench, which he had today, so full credit.

"I think it's also down to the situation that the transfer window is closed, now everybody knows that he is in the group, and we need to set the standards again.

"One of the standards was to toughen up and not be soft, to block shots, to give everything to defend our goal. We need to improve consistently and this is not over."

David Moyes is targeting another strong continental run after guiding West Ham to the Europa Conference League group stages with victory over Viborg.

The Hammers booked their place in Friday's draw after a 3-0 win at the Viborg Stadion rounded off a comprehensive 6-1 aggregate success over the Danish side. 

Gianluca Scamacca got the ball rolling for David Moyes' side in the second leg, while Said Benrahma and Tomas Soucek were also on target after the break to seal the deal.

West Ham enjoyed a marvellous run to the Europa League semi-finals last season, before losing out to eventual champions Eintracht Frankfurt.

Speaking to the media after Thursday's result, Moyes is hoping his squad can enjoy a similarly deep venture this time around.

"It is a special thing being in Europe, and what makes it really special is that you don’t get it very often," he told the club's official website.

"You can sometimes find people who treat it with a bit of disrespect, but I wanted to make sure we treat it with great respect because I want us to try and do well and compete it in.

"Now, we've got another period of European football and playing games in places we've maybe not done before, so we look forward to it.

"We tried really hard last year and we had a great run in it, and now we'll obviously try and do the same in this competition."

Scamacca and Pablo Fornals also highlighted the importance of grasping the opportunity to ensure another campaign of continental football at the London Stadium.

"We want to be in the Europa Conference League, so it was so important to win," the Italy international said.

"Everyone want to play in the European competitions, so it was a big night for us and we will give 100 per cent to go as far as possible."

Fornals added: "It's massive for us to be in the group stage. We're fighting every year to get European football for our people, and we couldn't miss this opportunity."

West Ham manager David Moyes has confirmed the club have bid for Lyon midfielder Lucas Paqueta and Club Brugge's Hans Vanaken, adding that people "would burst out laughing" if they knew everyone the club has moved for.

The London club have endured a tough start to the 2022-23 season, losing all of their opening three Premier League fixtures, and are still yet to score in the competition.

Further signings are being targeted in a bid to improve that record and build upon a successful campaign last term, when the Hammers reached the semi-finals of the Europa League.

Widespread reports have attributed Moyes' side with an interest in Lyon's Paqueta, formerly linked with Arsenal and Newcastle United, in a deal that would be a significant coup for the club.

Vanaken, a 29-year-old Belgian midfielder, is also a player the club are targeting with Moyes confirming bids for both ahead of the UEFA Conference League play-off second-leg against Viborg.

"We have bid for him," he said in a press conference, "He can play as a number 10, an eight, he plays as a false nine for Brazil quite often. I think his pedigree is really good.

"Pedigree doesn't always guarantee that it works, but you would hope that it helps towards him possibly getting better."

The Hammers have made seven first-team signings so far in the transfer window and Moyes was not afraid to detail just how ambitious the club have been, admitting there have been plenty of bids for other players.

"We've bid for a lot of players and if I told you who, you would burst out laughing and say 'you're kidding'," he said

"Maybe we've tried to go way above our station, but we have tried to get really top players because I knew we needed it.

"For us a couple of top players coming in would give everyone a lift and help ease the pressure on Declan Rice, Michail Antonio and Tomas Soucek."

Erling Haaland scored twice on his Premier League debut as Manchester City beat West Ham 2-0 at London Stadium.

A first-half penalty from Haaland was followed by a typically clinical finish when the big-money signing after the break, as the champions picked up three points from their opening game. 

With Haaland seen as the striker Pep Guardiola has been lacking since Sergio Aguero's departure, it was fitting that the new arrival became only the second City player to score a brace on his Premier League bow, with the former Argentina international being the other in August 2011.

Hammers boss David Moyes was forced to start full-back Ben Johnson at centre-back alongside Kurt Zouma, with Angelo Ogbonna, Issa Diop and new signing Nayef Aguerd all out injured.

It took a while for City to get going, and they thought they had taken the lead when a neat move down the left led to Haaland playing in Ilkay Gundogan, who squared for Kevin De Bruyne to sweep home, only for the offside flag to go up.

Moyes's injury problems mounted further as Lukasz Fabianski had to go off after taking a knock in a challenge for the ball with Haaland, Alphonse Areola replacing him.

One of Areola's first contributions was to bring down Haaland when he was through on goal to concede a 36th-minute penalty, which the Norway striker dispatched calmly, sending Areola the wrong way.

Declan Rice skied a presentable chance over after a Gundogan error early in the second half, and some uncharacteristic misplaced City passes crept in as the Hammers looked for an equaliser, turning to their own new striker Gianluca Scamacca to come on just before the hour.

Haaland struck again after 65 minutes, though, when a City counter-attack saw De Bruyne slide his new team-mate in and the former Borussia Dortmund man placed his shot coolly past Areola to seal the points.

Cristiano Ronaldo faces an uncertain Manchester United future, but he stands to pass a string of landmarks if he stays and plays for Erik ten Hag this season.

Tottenham's Harry Kane, set to captain England at the World Cup later in the year, is chasing a significant club landmark.

And guess who will join Mohamed Salah in bidding to set an opening-day career goals record.

Of course, it's......  Jamie Vardy.

As the new season gets under way on Friday, Stats Perform looks at the records and milestones coming into view.

KANE, RONALDO, HAALAND: TARGETS IN THE CROSSHAIRS OF THE BIG GUNS

What role Ronaldo has to play remains in the balance, given he appears keen to leave United for a second time.

But if the 37-year-old features for the Red Devils, he can begin to chase down landmarks. For starters, he is just four victories short of having had a hand in 150 United wins in the Premier League, having drawn 43 times and lost 37 while a member of the team across his two Old Trafford spells.

Ronaldo is a mere six goals away from becoming the first player to amass 500 goals in Europe's top five leagues. His record 494 goals to date have come from 616 league matches. On his heels, however, is perennial rival Lionel Messi, once of Barcelona and now at Paris Saint-Germain (480 goals in 546 league games).

Kane is 17 away from hitting the 200-goal mark in the Premier League, a total only ever achieved by Alan Shearer (260) and Wayne Rooney (208). Sergio Aguero (184) and Andy Cole (187), third and fourth on the Premier League era list, are poised to be knocked down a peg as Kane continues his assault on the league record.

Both Leicester City's Vardy and Liverpool's Salah will be looking to equal or break the Premier League matchday one goals record, which is currently held jointly by Shearer, Frank Lampard and Rooney (eight goals). Vardy and Salah have seven each, like the retired Teddy Sheringham and Aguero.

Manchester City new boy Erling Haaland has caused a sensation with his goalscoring wherever he has played, dazzling for Molde, Salzburg, Borussia Dortmund and Norway. He could become the seventh Norwegian to score on his Premier League debut, and the third to do so in the opening game of a season, after Tore Andre Flo for Chelsea in 1997-98 and Adama Diomande in 2016-17 with Hull City.

DESERVES A LONG SERVICE MEDAL

Liverpool's James Milner, fresh from signing a new one-year contract, is 12 short of reaching 600 Premier League games. Only three players have reached that mark to date: Gareth Barry (653), Ryan Giggs (632) and Lampard (609).

Milner made his Premier League debut for Leeds United as a 16-year-old in November 2002, so a 20-year anniversary is approaching for the former England midfielder.

David Moyes was already a Premier League manager by the time Milner made his first appearance. At Everton then, he has done the rounds since and is a mere two games away from completing 1,000 matches in all competitions as a manager in English football.

Now at West Ham, Moyes looks to be at the opposite end of his touchline career to Mikel Arteta, the Arsenal manager who is one away from bringing up his first 50 wins as a Premier League boss.

STICK AROUND LONG ENOUGH...

Only six teams have been constant members of the Premier League since its first year in 1992-93. Completing the first 30 seasons without suffering the indignity of relegation have been Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham, Everton and Arsenal. Sooner or later, all sorts of landmarks arrive for these league lynchpins.

Arsenal have lost 249 Premier League games and headed into Friday night's season opener against Crystal Palace under threat of becoming the 13th side to lose 250. They would have had the longest wait to lose 250, however, having already played four games more than Chelsea, who took the longest (1,148 games) of those to have reached the not-so-desirable milestone.

Tottenham, another of those stalwart sides, are just five away from becoming the fifth team to score 1,000 goals at home in the competition (Manchester United 1,214, Liverpool 1,156, Arsenal 1,154, Chelsea 1,121).

Chelsea are 27 shy of 2,000 goals, home or away, having plundered 1,973 in their 1,152 games to date.

Aston Villa and Newcastle United are both 12 short of losing 400 Premier League games. Only West Ham (408) and Everton (414) have lost more games than those sides, who will hope to avoid spilling over that barrier this season.

West Ham are four away from reaching 1,000 Premier League games, while promoted Nottingham Forest are two away from 200.

MAKING UP THE NUMBERS

Liverpool left-back Andy Robertson needs one assist to become only the second defender to register 50 Premier League assists, after Leighton Baines (Wigan, Everton). Robertson has 49, with Baines managing 53 across his career.

Aston Villa veteran Ashley Young and Tottenham new arrival Richarlison are two shy of reaching 50 Premier League goals, while Newcastle's former Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope is four away from 50 clean sheets in the competition.

Brighton and Hove Albion are two away from 50 wins, with Aston Villa four short of 300 draws, a tally that only Everton (320) have reached.

Southampton need four victories to reach 100 away wins, and Aston Villa want four three-pointers on the road to reach their 150 wins. Leicester, on the other hand, are four away from 150 Premier League away defeats. Brendan Rodgers will hope to fend off that landmark until well into the new campaign.

West Ham have confirmed the permanent signing of Alphonse Areola from Paris Saint-Germain after the goalkeeper impressed during a loan spell at the London Stadium last season.

Areola kept eight clean sheets in 18 games for West Ham during the 2021-22 campaign, including 11 appearances during the Irons' run to the Europa League semi-finals.

David Moyes' side will play in Europe again next term, having qualified for the Europa Conference League by finishing seventh in the Premier League, and have moved to consolidate their goalkeeping options with the permanent acquisition of the 29-year-old.

Having signed a five-year contract with an option for a further season, Areola told the club's website: "I feel good, I feel great, I'm happy to sign and happy to stay here permanently, and I can't wait to start to train and to do the job.

"The main thing is that I felt the love of the supporters last season. Something for me that is really important is to feel that I'm loved. 

"I know that I have to do my job and to do everything to make them happy, and obviously also the team, my team-mates, the staff and [goalkeeping coach] Xavi Valero as well. The vibe of last season was great, so I just wanted to do everything to stay here.

"When I'm signing with a club, I want to feel that it's like my second family. Obviously, we're here every day and we are sharing lots of time together, so I have to feel comfortable with everyone and feel them comfortable with me as well, so I just feel comfortable here."

Meanwhile, Moyes hopes the experience of Areola, who has three senior caps for France and was part of Les Blues' 2018 World Cup-winning squad, will prove invaluable for the Hammers.

"Alphonse made a huge contribution to the club during his loan spell last season. His performances backed up why we see him as a top goalkeeper," Moyes said.

"He brings proven quality and experience at the highest level, both on the domestic and international scene. We're delighted he's with us permanently and look forward to welcoming him back for pre-season."

West Ham, who also signed Rennes defender Nayef Aguerd last week, kick off their 2022-23 Premier League campaign at home to defending champions Manchester City on August 7.

West Ham have completed the signing of Nayef Aguerd from Rennes for a reported fee of £30million including add-ons (€34.9m).

The Morocco international joins on a five-year deal as Hammers manager David Moyes strengthens his backline ahead of next season.

The defender featured in 66 Ligue 1 games for Rennes after joining in 2020, while also helping his country to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar after overcoming DR Congo 5-2 on aggregate over two play-off matches.

West Ham struggled with injuries last season, especially at centre-back, but Aguerd provides much-needed depth ahead of another challenge for the European qualification spots next season.

"I am delighted to welcome Nayef to West Ham United. We have tracked his progress for some time and I'm very pleased that we have been able to complete the signing," Moyes told the club's official website.

"He's a great addition that will add to our defensive options."

Aguerd pinpointed the interest of Moyes as a crucial factor for him joining the 2021-22 Europa League semi-finalists.

"I was really excited when I heard about West Ham United's interest," Aguerd said after penning his contract with the Hammers.

"I talked with the manager and he showed me that he was very interested, so it was easy to choose to come to West Ham."

David Moyes apologised for losing his cool with a ball boy after he was sent off as West Ham missed out on a place in the Europa League final.

Manager Moyes was ordered to the stands late on for kicking a ball thrown by the ball boy as West Ham lost 1-0 on the night to Eintracht Frankfurt and 3-1 on aggregate.

"I kicked a ball back at the ballboy, so I apologise for that, he threw the ball very softly at me," Moyes said on BT Sport.

Television footage of the incident showed an angry Moyes lashing out.

Moyes' team were forced to play most of the match with a numerical disadvantage after Aaron Cresswell's 18th-minute sending off made him the first Englishman to receive a red card in a European semi-final since John Terry for Chelsea against Barcelona in the 2011-12 Champions League.

 

According to Moyes, West Ham have faced better teams than Oliver Glasner's Frankfurt on their European run, but Rafael Borre's first-half goal condemned the Premier League side to a semi-final exit.

Cresswell also became the first English player to be dismissed twice in the same edition of a major European competition, having also seen red in a quarter-final draw against Lyon.

While Moyes said sorry for his own actions, he was unhappy with the decision to dismiss Cresswell, and suggested West Ham's previous knockout opponents Lyon and Sevilla were stronger than Frankfurt.

"[We have] lots of complaints," Moyes told BT Sport after the defeat. "We've enjoyed being in the competition. I don't know if we've enjoyed the officiating, but we have enjoyed the competition. I just feel disappointment, because I think this was a chance. I think we probably played better teams than Frankfurt.

"To be honest, we probably lost the game in the first 30 seconds at the London Stadium, where we conceded a goal [scored by Ansgar Knauff] and we've been chasing the game ever since."

He added, on West Ham TV: "We had a sending-off tonight and I think over the two games, for some reason, a lot of things haven't gone our way.

"But maybe we have to learn a little bit more about officiating in Europe and different things. We've now had two sendings-off in games – one in the quarter-final as well, when we had to play 45 minutes with 10 men.

"Tonight, we had to play the best part of 75 minutes with 10, so the players are brilliant. How they've worked and their resilience to keep going… and actually, I thought they tried to take the game to Frankfurt and had chances."

West Ham travel to relegated Norwich City in the Premier League on Sunday as they aim to secure a top-seven finish.

While West Ham missed the opportunity to reach a first major European final since they lost to Anderlecht in the 1975-76 Cup Winners' Cup trophy match, Frankfurt have now reached their third such occasion, having been European Cup runners-up in 1959-60 and UEFA Cup winners in 1979-80.

Glasner's men will face Rangers in the final in Seville later this month after the Scottish outfit overcame RB Leipzig 3-2 on aggregate.

Manchester United have been proven wrong by David Moyes, who deserved more time at Old Trafford, according to Phil Neville.

Neville left United as a player to join Moyes at Everton and then returned to his former club as part of the new manager's backroom staff in 2013.

But Moyes' United tenure did not go to plan after he was appointed with the backing of outgoing legend Alex Ferguson.

The Red Devils were reigning Premier League champions but finished seventh in a season Moyes failed to see out, sacked with four games remaining.

Since then, Moyes has endured mixed fortunes, struggling at Real Sociedad and suffering relegation with Sunderland before restoring his reputation across two stints with West Ham.

The 59-year-old will lead the Hammers out in a Europa League semi-final against Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday, with the club on course for a second successive season of European football having been battling relegation when the manager returned to London Stadium.

Meanwhile, United – one place above West Ham in sixth – are turning to Erik ten Hag as their sixth appointment since Ferguson's retirement (including incumbent interim boss Ralf Rangnick).

Neville feels the club would have been better served giving time to the man named as Ferguson's successor.

"If you look back now, it was totally wrong the lack of time that he was given," the Inter Miami head coach told Sky Sports. "It was totally wrong the lack of backing, the lack of finance in terms of the investment that other managers have had.

"I'd say that's the biggest thing. When we both left the club at that time, we needed another season.

"Ten months at Manchester United, in a difficult period when the greatest manager of all time had just left, wasn't enough. He had unbelievable plans to take the club forward in that summer.

"I'd say that, looking back, it was probably one of the biggest mistakes United made since Sir Alex left, not giving David Moyes more time.

"I think he's proven now at West Ham: with time, he can build a football club to sustain, with quality and to be successful.

"That, for me, was probably one of the biggest disappointments in football, when he was sacked by Manchester United."

West Ham manager David Moyes declared his side needs Declan Rice "to drive us on" if they are to come back from a 2-1 deficit against Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League semi-final.

The first leg, played at London Stadium, got off to the worst possible start as the visitors scored inside the opening minute, with Michail Antonio replying in the first half before Daichi Kamada scored the Frankfurt winner after 54 minutes.

Whichever team advances to the final will meet the winner of RB Leipzig and Rangers.

Rice has been the driving force behind West Ham's season and has become one of the best central midfielders in the Premier League. Now, Moyes wants the 23-year-old to push the Hammers into a first major European final since 1976.

"I say to Declan Rice every week 'you have to drive them on, every day in training – the levels and standards have to be taken higher'," Moyes told a news conference.

"Every day you have to drive them on, the levels. He has the chance to work with some of the best players in the country when he goes away with England – Harry Kane, Harry Maguire, you name it – and he has to bring that back to our camp and demand it from the other boys.

Rice has, quite literally, played a key role in progressing West Ham to this huge tie, having made 182 ball carries in the Europa League this season, second only to Barcelona's Eric Garcia (191).

The total distance of Rice's carries amounts to 2,083 metres, more than 400 metres more than any other central midfield player this campaign. Moyes did stress, though, that it is important not to put the onus all on one talismanic player.

"We also mustn't put too much on Dec’s shoulders! I’m the one who's said it because he's such a quality player and he's got tremendous abilities," Moyes continued.

"I challenge him a lot, but we need to get a whole team performance and everybody needs to perform well. 

"We need Dec to drive us on, but we need him to play with a really steady, experienced head for somebody who's young."

Moyes' second spell in charge has seen West Ham transform from relegation candidates to being on the brink of a European final in the space of two years.

"Our climb over the last two years has probably been faster [than we'd expect] and sometimes you have to come down a little bit to go again – but hopefully, we continue to build and grow, and that’s what I'm trying to drive home," Moyes added.

"The biggest thing I've seen is the mentality change in the players here – it's incredible. The demand really is that we try and improve, and I put it on them.

"They need to be the ones who do it as well. The manager is always the one who gets found out if it happens or not, but sometimes the players need to be the ones who roll their sleeves up and not accept anything other than the best."

David Moyes acknowledged that West Ham being one step away from the Europa League final may have stunned most, including himself, last season.

West Ham qualified for UEFA's secondary club football competition by finishing sixth in the 2020-21 Premier League and have adapted well to European football.

The Hammers also emerged as early contenders to qualify for the Champions League this season, but now sit seventh – eight points behind fourth-placed Arsenal having played a game more – with their focus seemingly on Europe.

West Ham defeated Europa League specialists Sevilla and Lyon to reach the final four, where they will meet Eintracht Frankfurt, who defeated Barcelona at the quarter-final stage.

Indeed, it will be West Ham's first semi-final in a major competition since 2013-14, when they lost 9-0 on aggregate against Manchester City in the EFL Cup.

While Moyes expressed his surprise that his side had made it this far in their first year in Europe since falling in the 2016-17 Europa League play-off to Astra Giurgiu, the Scotsman remains confident.

"It's good to be nervous," Moyes told reporters at a pre-match news conference on Wednesday ahead of the first leg at home to Eintracht on Thursday.

"It makes you realise the level of the game, but you want the players to play with confidence and do a lot of things naturally in the game – but I think nerves are really important for the players to understand the level we're at.

"It's a great game. We're hugely excited by it. The thrill of qualifying for Europe last year was great.

"If you'd have said to us in May last year 'you're going to be in the semi-finals of the Europa League, with the chance of getting to the final,' I think we'd have all said, 'you're joking'.

"We're in a really good place and I think we're worthy of it. Beating Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea at home shows that on our home patch, on our day, we can be a good match for just about any team."

Central to the success of West Ham has been the presence of England international Declan Rice and the scoring form of Jarrod Bowen, who has 17 direct goal involvements in the Premier League this season.

Only Mason Mount (19) and Harry Kane (20) can boast more among English players in the Premier League, leading to calls for Bowen to feature in Gareth Southgate's World Cup squad at Qatar 2022.

Moyes cited former Hull City forward Bowen and Czech Republic duo Vladimir Coufal and Tomas Soucek as vital for the upturn in West Ham's fortunes.

"When I first returned, I honestly thought if I could get it going, I'd get a team challenging around the top of the league. That's what I planned," Moyes added.

"I think for most of my career, I've been closer to that than the bottom, even though I've come back a couple of times to take over a team near the bottom, but I always felt if I could get a chance to get it done...

"On that journey, you need to make sure your recruitment is good. We signed a couple of Czech boys on the journey who have been brilliant for us, and we took Jarrod Bowen from the Championship, whose gone on to do great things. Sometimes you need bits of that for all those things to happen.

"Is it by luck, by plan or design? I hope it's a bit of both. Sometimes it doesn't always go right when you're a manager, and for the majority of managers it's very difficult, but I always felt that if I could get it going here, I could get a team challenging."

It will be Moyes' first semi-final since 2013-14, when his Manchester United side were defeated by Sunderland in the EFL Cup, while he is the first Scottish manager to reach the semi-final stage of the UEFA Cup or Europa League since 2007-08.

But Moyes appreciates the job is not completed as his side prepare to meet Eintracht in European competition for just the second time, West Ham previously eliminating the German side at the semi-final stage of the 1975-76 Cup Winners' Cup.

"I've still got a long way to go. I've got to win a two-legged semi-final and then I would need to, if I was good enough to do that, try to win a final – so from my point of view, there's still a long way to go," he said.

"To bring West Ham from where it's been, to where we are today, is huge.

"People who know West Ham far better than I do will tell you that to get to the semi-final of a European competition and give ourselves a real chance of getting to a final is something really special. It's not easy to do.

"I think when the tournament started, people were asking me if I thought we were favourites in the tournament, and I said: 'No, what a load of rubbish.' All the Champions League team were still to drop in.

"We did a really good job in the group – the whole squad did a brilliant job winning the group – and then we've had two huge ties, which all the teams are going to have.

"We're now in a semi-final. You would always like the second leg at home, but we're at home in the first leg, so we have to deal with that, but I think we're in a good place and we have to try to challenge to get to the final."

Declan Rice has revealed how the antics of Moussa Dembele and a post from Lyon's social media team inspired West Ham to reach the Europa League semi-finals.

Prior to Thursday night's rematch between the sides, footage had circulated of Dembele winking to team-mates after appearing to go down easily to earn Aaron Cresswell a soft first-leg red card.

That decision contributed to the tie being finally poised at 1-1 going into the second leg in France; it also perhaps led to some overconfidence from the hosts.

As much could be seen in a reply from Lyon's official English language account on Twitter to the question of which teams looked best placed to progress this week.

It read: "Are you really asking like there's a chance we don't go through?"

Speaking after a 3-0 win saw the Hammers ease through to the last four, Rice confirmed that both perceived slights had ultimately served as motivation.

He told BT Sport: "There were a few incentives for us to go out there and win.

"Obviously, Dembele winking in the first leg at the camera, and then their Twitter admin saying they don't see how they're not going to get through.

"Those things come back to bite you. We stayed quiet, put in a performance, and now West Ham are in the semis. What more could we want?"

Lyon's belief no doubt stemmed from the knowledge they would have a raucous home crowd cheering them on in the return leg.

However, according to Rice, the atmosphere actually pushed the visitors to play their best game.

England international Rice said: "I feel like if you can't get up for these games then you shouldn't be playing football. The roar from the warm-up was spine-tingling, really. It just really gives you that fire in your stomach to go out and perform.

"[It feels] special, very, very special. We knew it was a tough place to come, we knew they had top individual quality.

"But with what we had on the pitch, our attacking players, and what we saw in the first game in terms of them defensively, we knew we could score goals tonight. For all the fans, it's just such a great night."

Manager David Moyes used his post-match interview to reflect on his team's short journey from relegation battlers to European silverware hopefuls.

Moyes said: "We've got a really good group of lads, I'm really lucky. They've been great in the time we've been here. We were trying to avoid relegation and now we're talking about getting to the semi-final of a European tournament, it's fabulous. I think it's been huge what we've done in two years.

"We've not won any trophies yet, we're trying to compete and qualify for European football again if we can.

"But I think to be getting to the latter stages and beating Sevilla and now Lyon - big clubs, big teams who are used to European football...

"You don't win anything tonight, but it was a big night for us. To come away and win 3-0 in Europe - a really, really good result."

David Moyes says it would cost over £150million to prise Declan Rice away from West Ham but the England midfielder is not for sale.

Captain Rice has just over two years remaining on his Hammers contract, with the option of a further 12 months.

The 23-year-old has been consistently outstanding for club and country, attracting interest from the likes of Manchester United and his former club Chelsea.

Asked if Rice would command a British record transfer fee of £150m, West Ham boss Moyes said: "If you are interested, well, it will be north of that.

"£100m was cheap last summer. £150m just now would be minimum but he is not for sale. What I do know is that it means there are only certain clubs that could even consider it.”

Moyes wants the Hammers to take a similar approach to the way London rivals Tottenham handled Manchester City's interest in England captain Harry Kane last year.

"I look at what Tottenham did with Harry Kane, albeit in a different way," said the Scot.

"They said, 'No, there is a price and if someone wants to pay the price, then we would probably do it. If they don't, then he's not going anywhere’ and they have kept him.

"There will be times when players have got the power but we have got Declan on the best part of a three-and-a-half-year contract.

"Just like Tottenham, they have got Kane on a contract and they control what happens."

West Ham have made donations to nine different animal welfare charities from the fine administered to Kurt Zouma.

Footage obtained by the Sun last month showed France defender Zouma kicking and slapping his cat, leading to a public outcry.

Hammers boss David Moyes has continued to select Zouma, who alongside brother Yoan is facing the prospect of an RSPCA prosecution under the Animal Welfare Act.

West Ham fined Zouma the maximum two weeks' wages, reported to be worth £250,000, and promised to donate the money to charitable causes.

A statement from the club on Friday said those payments have now been made.

"A total of nine organisations, supporting the care and wellbeing of animals both in the United Kingdom and internationally, have been identified to receive significant payments which will go towards supporting the fantastic work they do," the statement read.

"West Ham United would like to thank everyone who contacted the club to propose animal welfare charities and good causes, along with our supporters who have been involved in the process of identifying those who have received financial support, ensuring that a huge positive has come from something negative."

Cats Protection, Celia Hammond Animal Trust, Hopefield Animal Sanctuary, National Animal Welfare Trust, People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals, Pussycat Lodge Trust, Humane Society, International Fund Animal Welfare, and War Paws are the charities to which West Ham have donated.

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