David Moyes explains why he has left two West Ham stars at home for Europa League tie against Rapid Wien in Austria.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference in Austria this evening, Moyes revealed Michail Antonio and Lukasz Fabianski have not travelled with West Ham for the game.
The Hammers travelled to Austria ahead of Thursday evening’s Group H match against Rapid Wien.
West Ham beat the Vienna side 2-0 in the reverse fixture.
Moyes knows a win for his side in the behind-closed-doors match will seal top spot in Group H and with it a place in the last 16.
A point may even be enough. Indeed West Ham could lose their remaining two games and still finish top of the group.
But Moyes will want West Ham to get the job done in Austria and effectively earn the club a four-month break from European matches as the last 16 does not start up again until March.
That would offer Moyes and his squad some welcome respite.
And goodness knows some of them need it if the jaded performance in defeat to Wolves last time out is anything to go by.
Antonio has been brilliant – unplayable at times – for West Ham since being converted to a striker.
But when he is not at his best like against Wolves then it raises questions. Particularly surrounding his decision to start playing international football for Jamaica at the age of 31 with a history of injury problems.
Antonio looked leggy and miles off it against Wolves after a 17,000 mile round-trip.
Moyes has been rotating Fabianski and Alphonse Areola for Premier League and Europa/cup games.
And Moyes has revealed neither are in the squad to face Rapid Wien (whufc.com).
David Moyes explains why he has left two West Ham stars at home for Europa League tie
“Michail is not here, no,” Moyes told the press (whufc.com).
“We chose not to bring him today, but apart from that Lukasz (Fabianski) isn’t here.
“We’re well aware of where we are and how we’ve been setting up, so we’ll be strong, but we know that we’ve got so many big games coming up now in a busy schedule.
“I think everybody would see during the competition that we’ve tried to make sure we mix the players in it as much as we can.
“We’ve got a good squad and the players have all performed well in the competition. We do want to use them all and give them an opportunity…
“We’ve chosen to decide when we need players. We’ve got a busy week coming up next week – a full Premier League fixture list for everybody – so we want to give Mick (Antonio) a good chance of being ready for it.”