David Moyes explained why an issue West Ham have dealt with well this season could soon flare up, and wouldn’t be drawn in on a cheeky Lyon gesture.
The Hammers return to Premier League action on Sunday with a trip to Thomas Frank’s Brentford. West Ham retain hopes of snatching fourth spot and thus qualifying for the Champions League next season.
However, should they fail to finish fourth, they could still qualify for Europe’s elite competition through winning the Europa League.
Moyes’ men were held to a 1-1 draw in the first leg of their quarter final clash with Lyon on Thursday night. Their task was made all the harder when Aaron Cresswell saw red when adjudged to have denied a clear goalscoring opportunity for Moussa Dembele.
Moyes’ protestations regarding the incident earned him a yellow card after the half time whistle blew. And speaking in his Friday press conference (via Football London), Moyes refused to speak further on the suspect red card.
“Don’t want to talk about it,” said the Scot. “Nothing else to say about it.”
Dembele appeared to wink after Cresswell received his marching orders. That gesture would suggest he too knew he had pulled the wool over the referees eyes when taking a tumble under minimal contact.
When asked about the wink, Moyes refused to be drawn in.
He said: “Not seen it. Football comes around. It’s a strange thing. You need to be careful, but I’ve not seen it.”
Europa League could start affecting league form – Moyes
West Ham have earned rave reviews for the way in which they’ve managed their squad this season.
The familiar Thursday, Sunday, Thursday, Sunday routine the Europa League provides has often been difficult for teams outside of the top six to contend with.
Moyes explained his use of fringe players in the earlier stages helped his team to cope. However, he warned the fixture pile-up could start to take a toll now he is using all of his regular starters in Europe too.
“We were able to [cope] because we split the team quite often in the earlier rounds and everyone played,” added Moyes.
“Sometimes that can work for you, sometimes it can’t. Now getting into knockout games you’re more liable to play the main players to get results and that’s where it starts to take a toll. We’re still enjoying it.”
Jarrod Bowen’s return from injury has been a timely one. Bowen has wasted little time in recapturing the type of form that has seen him earmarked for an England call-up. Indeed, he bagged the critical goal against Lyon last night.
“We’ve needed him, we’ve missed his goals when not been here,” admitted Moyes.
“I think he’s played well for someone who’s just back. We need that to continue. We need to keep scoring.”