West Ham United manager David Moyes has provided the latest information on the fitness of his squad ahead of the Hammers’ trip to Tottenham Hotspur later today after footage showed a selection of players, including star midfielder and captain Declan Rice, limping after Thursday’s famous victory over Sevilla in the Europa League.
Speaking to the media ahead of today’s fierce London Derby, the Scotsman couldn’t assure fans that the players in question were 100% available for Spurs.
The 58-year-old said: “We’ve got a few people limping but you’d expect that after a tough game. We’ll assess them all this morning and see how they are.
“It’s a bit early to ask me about the team, but that’s the way it is.”
Rice and Antonio were two of those visibly hobbling after Thursday night’s win in Europe, however, there are certainly arguments that the issue came as a result of playing 120 minutes of football and certainly isn’t a long-term setback.
However, the fact that Moyes couldn’t confirm that the midfielder and his teammates who were also limping were definitely fine will certainly concern Hammers fans, especially ahead of a crucial game in the Premier League.
Three days on from the East London club’s biggest game of the season against the La Liga giants, the Irons face their biggest league match of the campaign as they travel to fierce rivals Tottenham. Every season, games against Spurs are marked in the calendar, however, this meeting has significant importance in the race for Europe.
The two clubs from the capital are level on 48 points, with West Ham sat above the Lilywhites in sixth on goal difference. However, Antonio Conte’s side do have a game in hand.
As a result, the fact that there is a slim chance that players like Michail Antonio and Rice miss the game would be a huge blow given their importance in Moyes’ best starting XI.
It seems as though if the Hammers are to qualify for Europe once again, it will now be in either the Europa League or Europa Conference League with fourth-placed Arsenal now six points ahead with a game in hand.
After their trip to north London and once back from the international break, Moyes’ side will have eight final league games to secure their place in continental competition next season, as well as at least another two games in the Europa League as they take on French side Olympique Lyon in the quarter-finals.
Therefore, it is absolutely crucial that the East London side take a result away from the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium today in order to keep themselves well in contention of a top-six finish as well as preventing Spurs from bridging a gap between the two sides. Yet, with two players or more potentially missing, their chances of doing that won’t be improved.
Moreover, given the magnitude of the contest, West Ham supporters will be desperate to see as many regulars in the side as possible, with the kingpin that is Rice certainly at the forefront of that list with the Englishman featuring 37 times for Moyes’ team this campaign.