David Moyes issues West Ham rallying cry after 'immense' efforts against Bayer Leverkusen

David Moyes has urged his West Ham players to rally after their “immense” effort in Leverkusen as they look to keep pace in the Premier League’s race for Europe this weekend.

The Hammers held out for 83 minutes against Bayer Leverkusen, the Bundesliga’s runaway leaders, but were eventually undone by two goals in the final seven minutes and now face a huge ask to turn the tie around at home on Thursday.

Before that, however, Moyes’s men host a Fulham side who hammered them 5-0 at Craven Cottage earlier this season and must bounce back quickly as they head into the final half-dozen games of the league season with a host of European chasers on their tail.

“There is huge disappointment,” Moyes said. “[I’m] incredibly proud of the players to be in a quarter-final of European football. The level they're playing against, you'll see this team in the Champions League next season. We've got to accept that.

“It was one of the toughest draws of the teams left, that is the way it goes. We've got a big chance in the second leg still.

“We have to pick ourselves up for the league still, we have to find a way of being strong and solid and hopefully we can get everybody behind the players and give them the support they're going to need on Sunday.”

West Ham currently sit seventh, though they would drop to eighth by kick-off should Newcastle avoid defeat at home to Tottenham in Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off.

It is not yet clear how many English teams will qualify for Europe next season, with much dependent on whether the Premier League edges what is currently a neck-and-neck race with the Bundesliga for an extra Champions League place, set to be decided by the current season’s continental performance.

However, finishing in the top-six is certain to be enough, and seventh likewise if the FA Cup winners have not already qualified through league position.

"Everybody wants to be in Europe,” Moyes added. “That is part of the job of being a manger is to make Europe. Some teams have to win leagues, we've been great making Europe.

“The downside of that is playing and having to come back from the games in midweek on a Thursday. The effort the players put in on Thursday was immense and we got very little reward for it.”