West Ham boss David Moyes has admitted he has been close to the sack several times this season.
The Scot has faced a number of so-called ‘must-win’ games throughout a turbulent Premier League campaign, but his side have delivered on each occasion.
The picture looks a lot brighter now, however, with West Ham safe from relegation and reaching an historic European final, their first in 47 years, in the Europa Conference League.
Should they beat Fiorentina in Prague on June 7 and lift a first trophy since the FA Cup in 1980, Moyes will have turned a disappointing campaign into one of the most successful in the club’s 128-year history.
“Seasons are long, and you never know how they are going to work out, but this could turn out to be one of West Ham’s best-ever seasons,” said Moyes.
“There’s still some work to be done in the Premier League, but finishing seventh and getting to the Europa League semi-finals last year was huge, and in some ways it’s probably taken its toll on us this season.
“But reaching a European final will make up for a lot of the other things that have happened this year.
“Sometimes, when things aren’t quite going right, you need to show a bit of resilience, and I’ve got to say there have been times this season when it was tough and there were bits that weren’t so enjoyable.
“On several occasions I could easily have lost my job, but you need good people who understand how you work and that makes life a lot easier and the board have been very supportive. In some ways, I hope this repays their faith in what they chose to do.
“I didn’t doubt myself, but I was more disappointed that I couldn’t quite get our rhythm back, but over my career I’ve managed to find ways of winning when my teams haven’t been doing so well.
“I’ve been brought back here twice before to help the club avoid relegation and on three occasions when we’ve been in this position we’ve managed to do that. I think I’m still able to find a way of winning games when it’s required.”
West Ham face Leeds on Sunday in what looks likely to be captain Declan Rice’s final home match before a summer move away.
“If he’s selected,” added Moyes. “In truth I don’t want to get into the Declan question because we’re asked about it every week. He’s still a hugely important player to us and we really hope he will be a West Ham player.
“He’s a leader and he takes a lot on, but he’s still a young boy – and he’s a young player who’s already been in two European semi-finals and now he’s going to a final as captain of the team.”