David Moyes says Jesse Lingard is key to driving West Ham over the line in race for Europe

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 (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

David Moyes has backed Jesse Lingard to play a key role in getting West Ham over the line and into Europe this season.

The midfielder was signed on loan from Manchester United in January and has had a terrific impact, scoring nine goals in his first ten games and keeping alive a dream of Champions League football.

Chances of a top four finish are now gone following Chelsea’s win over Leicester last night, but European football next season remains very much on the table.

Lingard’s goals have dried up across the past four games, but Moyes brought the 28-year-old to London for his mentality as much as his talent and is hoping the England international can continue to push the Hammers along over their final two games this season, starting tonight at West Brom.

Moyes said: “Jesse will be really important. I can tell he is driving and he wants us to be up at that level and competing. It will help him as well because he has made a great contribution since he came in January.”

West Ham have set remarkable new standards this season and with two games to go can still set a new Premier League points record for the club.

While Moyes feels his players deserve the reward of European football, the Scot has warned them they must go out and earn it - which includes sharpening up in front of goal after two games where their finishing was far from clinical.

Getty Images
Getty Images

“It would be fitting for the players if we made it because I think they’ve deserved it with their efforts this year,” said Moyes, who will put the final touches on a new contract after the end of the season this weekend.

“But you’ve got to earn it. You’ve got to earn it over the whole course of the season. We’ve got two game to go and we’ve got a chance of earning some form of European football.

“We had opportunities in quite a few of these recent games and we’ve not taken them.

“It was only four or five weeks ago we were getting a three goal lead in a lot of games. We’ve got the capabilities so we want to get back to that if we can do.”

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