West Ham will host Lyon at the London Stadium in the first leg of their Europe League quarter-final challenge tonight, and David Moyes must hit the ground running by capitalising on the home advantage, however, there has been a setback in the team ahead of the clash.
The Hammers manager took to his pre-match press conference to deliver some uncertainty surrounding Coufal’s fitness, despite being on the substitutes bench against Everton last weekend.
Moyes told the press: “Vladimir [Coufal] we’ve brought back and we’re still not totally convinced he’s 100 per cent, so he might just need a bit more time.”
This European game against Lyon is the biggest clash of the season for the Hammers, so potentially losing out on the opportunity to play one of the most important defensive players in his system will surely leave Moyes gutted ahead of the clash.
Coufal looked likely to make his return in the Premier League last weekend, but the Scottish manager chose to keep him rested and was likely hoping that further time on the bench would make him available for tonight’s game, however it is now looking likely he won’t be selected to start.
The 29-year-old right-back has been out since February after needing groin surgery following an ongoing problem but has been effective in his game-time prior to that with three assists in the Premier League this season whilst averaging two clearances and 1.7 tackles per game, as well as winning the majority of his duels combined (53%) and creating four big chances for the Hammers, according to SofaScore.
With that being said, Ben Johnson has been confirmed available which will surely be a huge boost for Moyes and the team going into the difficult game this evening and the 22-year-old defender should be able to offer enough defensively to make up for Coufal’s absence against Lyon.
West Ham will need to aim to get a good head start against their opponents whilst they have their home advantage in the first leg, with the decider game taking place against the Ligue One side in France a week today.