Aaron Cresswell hopes that West Ham can go one step further and win their first European trophy for 24 years after beating AZ Alkmaar in the Europa Conference League semi-final.
Cresswell and the Hammers beat AZ Alkmaar 1-0 in Holland this evening to win the tie 3-1 on aggregate and book their place in the competition’s Prague final on June 7th where they will face Fiorentina.
Alkmaar fought hard tonight to salvage something from their first-leg defeat last week but as they pushed forward late on they were left exposed, as Pablo Fornals took matters into his own hands, driving into the penalty area and finishing superbly past Mat Ryan.
Fornals celebrates his late goal that assured West Ham of their place in the final
The final whistle sparked jubilant celebrations from the Hammers players and supporters, despite the AZ fans’ best efforts to ruin their night, but speaking to BT Sport (quotes via BBC Sport), Cresswell admitted he couldn’t find the words to describe reaching the final.
“The emotions are running high. With the disappointing season we’ve had in the Premier League I’m sure every fan is delighted. It’s been a long time coming for the club but let’s hope we can go one more step.
“We knew from the first leg we could keep it tight. We created some chances but couldn’t score. What a way to win it in the last minute!
“Pablo Fornals never shies away. He gives everything for the badge. I’m lost for words and I’m just so happy. We spoke about not getting caught up in the moment. Last year was a massive low in my career and now I can’t wait for the final!”
Before the final in three weeks’ time, the Hammers have their two final league games against Leeds and Leicester to focus on, but with their league safety all but secured, everyone associated with the club will just be thinking about what is set to be a memorable showdown with Fiorentina.