LONDON (AP) — West Ham ended its record-breaking Premier League campaign with a 3-0 win over Southampton on Sunday to secure a place in next season's Europa League.
David Moyes’ team was battling relegation last season yet has secured sixth place and its best Premier League points tally of 65.
Two goals from Pablo Fornals and a third from Declan Rice made it a club-record 19th league win of the season, and a first top-six finish this century.
A debut appearance in the group stage of the Europa League now beckons for a team that was tipped to struggle again at the start of this season.
“Get your vaccines, get your passports, we’re going to Europe,” was the message from jubilant West Ham manager David Moyes to the 10,000 fans back in attendance at the London Stadium for the game.
Later, Moyes said: “It’s a huge achievement from where we came from. To jump this far is absolutely huge.
“I think there’s signs West Ham are beginning to pull together. We walked around the pitch last season having just stayed up and people said that was a success. I hope we enjoyed what we felt today, being in a big game that meant something. It’s been a tough year in football but overall it’s been a good year for us.”
Whether Moyes can build a squad capable of the grueling Thursday-to-Sunday slog is something to worry about another day. This was time to celebrate a notable achievement for the 58-year-old former Everton and Manchester United manager who is enjoying a career renaissance.
One player he hopes to add permanently is Jesse Lingard, following the end of the forward’s successful loan spell from Manchester United.
“I hope Jesse’s here. We’d like to keep him, he’s done an exceptional job for us, but there’s no guarantees, he’s not our player,” Moyes said.
“But I hope Jesse realizes we’ve been good for him as well, and that he joined a club on the up.”
It was an underwhelming end to a streaky season for Southampton, a 15th loss from its last 21 matches meaning a 15th-place finish.
“In the second half of this season we haven’t been good enough and that’s why we ended up where we ended up. The table doesn’t lie,” said Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl.
“When you concede the second most goals in the Premier League, you know what is missing. That’s what needs to change, either with these players or other players.”
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The Associated Press