Antonio out, confirms Moyes

  • by Staff Writer
  • Thursday, 25th November 2021

David Moyes has confirmed Michail Antonio will not feature when West Ham face Rapid Vienna in Austria this evening.

The 31-year-old striker, who looked off the pace against Wolves last weekend in his first outing since returning from international duty has been left at home while the rest of the squad travel to Austria for United's third and final Europa League away group H fixture.

Embed from Getty Images

"We chose not to bring him," said Moyes, who also revealed that goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski hasn't travelled with the squad either, meaning another start for Alphonse Areola.

"We’re well aware of where we are and how we've been setting up so we'll be strong, but we also know that we've got so many big games coming up in a really busy schedule. It’s the same as we’ve done in other games. We’ve chosen to decide when we need players.

"We’ve got a busy week coming up next week. We’ve got three games and it’s a full Premier League week for everybody, so we want to give Mich every chance of being ready and being in good condition for it."

And Moyes maintained that his decision to play a string of reserve players for the European ties was the correct policy - and one which has already proved fruitful, with the Hammers sitting top of the qualifying group and just one win away from qualifying for the last 16.

"I think everybody can see that during this competition we've tried to make sure that we mix the first team and the players who are in it as much as we can," he said.

“We've got a good squad. I think the players have all performed really well in this competition. We want to use them all and we want to give people opportunities. We can’t always get everybody a game, so we’ve got to try and stay strong in games.

“We know Thursday’s opposition are tough, so we have to go in with as strong a side as we possibly can. The players who have already played in the Europa League have done a brilliant job and played really, really well. I’m expecting the same again from them.”

Upon returning to England, Moyes and his squad will prepare for three league fixtures in the space of just seven days as the fixture schedule becomes ever busier in the run-up to Christmas.

“After Manchester City on Sunday, the following Wednesday, we’ve got Brighton & Hove Albion and then we’ve got Chelsea, so it’s our programme which makes these games a bit more difficult," he said.

"We’ve got ourselves through to the quarter finals in the Carabao Cup, we’re doing well in the Europa League and we’re going to be in Europe after Christmas, so I’m really looking forward to that.

“All the other games come like every other team has got, so we’ll take it one at a time, but we’ve also got to think ahead and use the players as best we can."

* Something to say about this story? Please visit the KUMB Forum to leave a comment.

More News