David Moyes has taken full credit for his side’s success in big games and has called upon his players to rise to the occasion.

No matter what your opinion is on David Moyes, it is hard to see fans not looking back upon these past few years fondly. Getting to see West Ham travel all over the continent and win a major European trophy are memories that the whole of the East London faithful will hold dear.

With a tough tie against Bayer Leverkusen though, some fear that this could be the end of their European tour. However, Moyes sees it “as a great opportunity” to create further history. “We’ve had a pretty good run in Europe,” he confirmed, “we’ve played a lot of good teams in Europe and as things go, the challenge we’ve got against a team who are 16 points clear in the Bundesliga is a big one. But one hopefully that we can rise to and perform well.”

“It might feel similar to the Sevilla tie, when the expectation was with the opponent, but we’ve grown as a Club since then.”

“We’ve had a really good run of getting to a semi-final and a final, so I don’t think we’re coming here without an expectancy of doing well. Our record in Europe has been pretty good – we’ve won the group stages in all three years we’ve been in it. We’ve gone on quite far in it and we’re looking forward to it.”

“It’ll be a really difficult game, but one we’re looking forward to, and it’s a two-legged tie as well.”

Despite having an extremely talented squad, Moyes has put the success in big games down to his management more than anything else. “I see it as a bit of my character and my personality, as to getting results in big games.”

“I challenge the players to be better and that’s why we’ll need big leadership – and I’ve used that word a lot in some games in recent weeks. We’ll need the players to show a level of composure, tactical understanding, with the knowledge that we’re in the first game in a two-legged tie away from home, against a side who are unbeaten in 41 games this season. We have to try and be able to handle that as well.”

When it comes to individual talent, there are a number of players who can change a game. Unfortunately, two of the most important ones are missing in Edson Alvarez and Jarrod Bowen but that doesn’t mean that the Hammers are completely depleted. In particular, Moyes wanted to highlight the importance of both Lucas Paqueta and Mohammed Kudus in tonight’s match.

“Lucas Paqueta is hugely important to us. He’s been an important part of the side, he’s a well-established Brazilian international and he can bring attributes to the games which are really important to us.”

“You pull your hair out at times, but overall he’s a pleasure to have and a pleasure to work with. He’s got some individual ability which you don’t see often, but when you do you recognise it greatly and I think most people recognise that he’s got some great talent. We have to get him at his best, because at his best it gives us a greater chance.”

“Mohammed Kudus is not just important for this tie tomorrow, but he’s been important for us all season. He will be important for us going forward in the future as well. He’s a young boy who has only just come into the Premier League and he’s settled in incredibly well.”

“We’re really enjoying the way he is playing for West Ham, I think he has a lot of development to come in the future and he’s settling in nicely here,” Moyes concluded.

With key players missing, a formidable foe and being away from home, everything is stacked against West Ham tonight. Thankfully, that is seemingly when they’re at their best. As long as it isn’t a heavy defeat, there will be positives to take from almost any result against the most in-form side in the world.