Thilo Kehrer has urged his team to write their names into the West Ham history books by winning the Europa Conference League final.
The Hammers face mid-table Serie A side Fiorentina in Prague on Wednesday night with the aim of lifting their first major piece of silverware for 43 years.
The 1980 FA Cup was their most recent major trophy while their solitary success in Europe was clinching the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1965.
Kehrer is determined for West Ham to finish the job at the end of a rollercoaster season that produced a 14th-placed finish in the Premier League.
“Making history is being in the final, we know that. Now our focus and vision is completing the goal,” Germany defender Kehrer said.
“I said it at the beginning of the season without knowing how the season would go, bringing a title to West Ham is a big goal.
“We have the squad and quality to do it, so we’re very confident going into this final. We’re focused completely on the final.
“You can feel the excitement of the fans and everybody around the club. There’s great excitement and for us players it’s great to be in that place. We’re enjoying it and will prepare to the best of our abilities.
— UEFA Europa Conference League (@europacnfleague) June 5, 2023
“We feel the support of every one of our fans. We are aware of all the people who are supporting us, they are behind us and cheering us on. We are very glad about that. We are taking that energy with us to Prague.
“We’re happy for everyone who will be at the stadium but also for everybody around back here, we’ll give our best for them.”
West Ham’s 10-day gap between the climax to the Premier League season and their European final enabled David Moyes to take the squad to Portugal for a short training camp.
Apart from fine tuning their preparations for next week’s Eden Arena showdown, the players were given the freedom to play golf and visit a local water park.
“We had some time together in a different place to usual, which helps to mix things up,” Kehrer said.
“We relaxed a little bit but it also gave us some time together to regroup. We will try to use it as an advantage.
“We’ve bonded well as a group this season. We used the last few days to grow even more and get even more team spirit so that everyone is focused on the goal.”
Kehrer’s form since his £10million move from PSG last summer has been patchy, but the 26-year-old insists he has learned during his first season at West Ham.
“I’ve taken some experience from the differences of the Premier League to other leagues – the intensity, the speed, the duels, the competitiveness,” he said.
“This season I’ve become more complete by feeding off that experience. I can’t wait for what’s coming next.”