David Moyes has admitted he wanted to draw Rangers in the Europa League last 16, though he says West Ham are relishing their match-up against record Europa League winners Sevilla.
The Hammers discovered their fate in the Europa League on Friday morning as their ball was picked out by Sevilla legend Andres Palop. Julen Lopetegui’s men had to navigate a tricky knockout play-off round against Dinamo Zagreb after finishing third in their Champions League group earlier this season.
West Ham were able to bypass the knockout qualifiers as group-winners in the Europa League, and they have just been matched with the competition’s most succesful side in their first-ever appearance in the last 16 — a showdown the Hammers boss says he’s relishing.
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However, the Glaswegian native, who progressed at Celtic Park during his early years in the sport, has conceded he would have loved to face his former club’s Old Firm rivals, Rangers, in the last 16.
“I did hope we might draw Rangers [in my home city of Glasgow] as I was looking forward to maybe having a game against them, which would be a really tough game,” Moyes told the club’s official website following the draw.
“Rangers have done brilliantly well to overcome Dortmund as they were one of the only Champions League teams actually knocked out in the knockout play-off round, so great credit to Rangers for getting through.”
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He went on to add that, although he was naturally disappointed to miss out on a potential Ibrox clash, he cheekily suggested it would be good to acclimatise to Sevilla’s Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium, where this year’s final will be held.
Moyes continued: “I think Sevilla have unbelievable history in winning the competition and I know their manager Julen [Lopetegui] and going to Sevilla is a big job.
“After Real Madrid, they’re probably the in-form team in Spain at the moment so it’ll be a really tough game, but I wanted a big game and I want the big teams and I want us to challenge them and really go for it, so Sevilla is a really tough game.
“It would be good to go there twice for the final, so it would be good to get used to the stadium, wouldn’t it!”
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