Gianluca Scamacca came off the bench to score the winner as West Ham beat Anderlecht 1-0 in Belgium.
The victory tightens the Hammers’ grip on qualification from their Europa Conference League group as they sit five points above Anderlecht with three games to play.
West Ham were good value for their win, controlling possession and having the best of the chances.
Irons boss David Moyes will be delighted with the three points given he made nine changes as Craig Dawson and Jarrod Bowen were the only two players who kept their place.
Michail Antonio started but came off for Scamacca who eventually scored the winner and Moyes gave his take on the dynamic.
He said: “I want strikers who are competitive against each other. When he’s getting those opportunities, he’s taking them. Tonight, we probably should have scored three.
“The three players [who came on], it was like bringing on three star acts. We are still getting used to Gianluca and [Lucas] Paqueta, but you could see right away it was a lift.
“The players who had started had done a pretty good job, but Gianluca got that opportunity and hit the target. We still have to play Anderlecht next week.”
In the first half, Said Benrahma had a glorious chance to open the scoring but blazed the ball over the bar. Moyes came out and had his say on the situation.
He said: “We like him a lot, we think a lot of him. We are pushing him to continue hitting the target.
“Tonight was a typical example. If he wants to be competitive, he can play at this level, but when you get those, you have to take them.”
Moyes gave his overall thoughts on the three points.
He said: “I thought we did really well. I thought there were signs of our football improving, especially as the game went on.
“You could see the strength in the squad starting to come. You could see what we had on the bench and what we could bring on and what was required.
“We needed some saves from our keeper, but you are in Europe away from home.
“It was always going to be the case that we would have some moments that we might be under pressure but we missed some really big opportunities to be out of sight and probably should have scored more goals.”
Midfielder Flynn Downes is struggling to break into the Premier League team but was afforded a chance in this competition and impressed.
He said: “It was some game, it was a tough 90 minutes. I think the boys were unbelievable and we did what we set out to do – we nicked a goal at the end, defended well and it’s three points, so happy days.
“I love it. It obviously hasn’t been the start that I wanted as I haven’t played too much, but it is what it is, and the competition is tough.
“I’ve just been keeping my head down, working hard and waiting for opportunities like that.
“To be fair, playing alongside Dec [Rice] is unbelievable, and Manu [Lanzini] as well and all the boys in the middle. It’s a joy. They’re all such good players, so I learn a lot from them, and it’s a privilege, really.”