Ben Johnson urges West Ham to finish the job and secure European football for another season after Lyon win

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Ben Johnson says West Ham have come too far to let the dream of a European trophy or another year in Europe slip their grasp.

Johnson played 90 minutes as the Hammers banished Lyon to reach the semi-finals of the Europa League, winning 4-1 on aggregate thanks to a 3-0 thrashing in France.

David Moyes, the West Ham manager, has taken the club from a relegation battle, into Europe and then - at their first crack in this competition - into the last four.

The mentality is now one of fearlessness and while fans will be dreaming of European glory, the squad are yet to give up on securing another year of continental football via the Premier League. West Ham sit sixth in the Premier League with six games to go, six points off fourth-placed Tottenham.

“I think we're now at the stage where everyone's fully elated but now we have come too far really to let it slip," Johnson said.

“It is Champions League or Europa League [qualification], or the Europa League trophy that we're aiming for. We've made improvements on last season no end and want to make improvements for next season. So we're setting the bar high but we're just going to continue taking it game by game.”

West Ham are in uncharted waters as a group, now into their first European semi-final since 1976.

Despite their inexperience at this level, Johnson feels the Hammers have been developing a big club mentality ever since their relegation escape during Project Restart in 2020.

“I think it was from the restart [after Covid], which was a few years ago,” said Johnson. “We were obviously in a relegation battle. We had to beat Chelsea, that was a deciding factor in our season to give us a chance of staying up and we went into that game with full confidence that we were going to win.

“I think we get that confidence from the manager. I think to want to become a big team you're gonna have to have the mentality for it. And I think we've got a great group of lads who have that mentality.

“We just looked as if we were going to win every game last season, it was it was a strange feeling and that's continued this year. We're not going anywhere in Europe or in England, and going for a draw. We're going to win so we're always gonna have that mentality.”

West Ham fans may well have been feeling rather strange as they watched their side tear through Lyon from the gods at the Groupama Stadium on Thursday night.

“It was a memorable night," said Johnson. “Another milestone achieved, which was brilliant for the boys.

“I think all the boys were focused from the warm up to the final whistle. So it was just a memorable night. Amazing feeling for everyone involved.

“So many fans came over and they were great, they held their own against the Lyon fans who we know are a bit problematic.”

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting