HomeEuropa LeagueWest Ham v Bayer Leverkusen: Moyes waits on key trio

West Ham v Bayer Leverkusen: Moyes waits on key trio

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Jarrod Bowen, Kalvin Phillips and Alphonse Areola are all doubts for West Ham’s Europa League quarter-final, second leg against Bayer Leverkusen tomorrow night.

The trio trained this morning but manager David Moyes was not sure if any of them would be fit to face the newly crowned Bundesliga champions as the Hammers look to claw back a 2-0 deficit from the first leg at the BayArena.

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Moyes said: “It was great to see Jarrod [Bowen] out there, first time we had him back, not sure about him. Great to have Kalvin [Phillips] back, but not sure about him either, Alphonse [Areola] was back but not sure about him either.

“We’d never risk any players if they had chance of another injury. Player welfare is a big thing. I do want goalscorers back there and Jarrod has been our best goalscorer.”

Leverkusen are unbeaten in 43 games in all competitions this season but had to work hard to see off West Ham in the first leg, late goals from substitutes Jonas Hofmann and Victor Boniface earning Xabi Alonso’s men the win.

Moyes added: “You never know how those games are going to go. We did a good job on them in the first leg but it was still not enough. We tried very hard last week and we will try very hard tomorrow.

“I still believe we’re playing against one of the best teams in Europe at the moment.

“We should give them respect. We respect every team, but we believe in our ability and we’ll do what we can to beat them.

“We know we have to do a good job on them if we can. It’s the same when you play any big team – you have to find ways of getting results.”

West Ham are eighth in the Premier League but Moyes remains a divisive figure among the fanbase with many frustrated at a perceived negative style of football.

The Scot has said he has been offered a new deal at the London Stadium but will wait until the end of the season before deciding whether to commit.

Moyes denied suggestions tomorrow night’s game was pivotal in his decision-making.

“I don’t think so at all. It’s not got a bearing on my decision,” he said. “Let’s be fair, it wasn’t too long ago we were talking about trying to avoid relegation.”

West Ham goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski appreciates overhauling a two-goal deficit against a side as good as Leverkusen will be a tough ask but the Pole remains optimistic.

He said: “It is a very daunting challenge but we have to believe – there is no other way to look at the situation. They [Bayer Leverkusen] are in a very strong position when it comes to the confidence of the team, with them being unbeaten in the league and already crowned German champions. They are a very good side they have proved that in the whole season but I would say we have to believe.

“They’re good on the ball and they’re very patient. As a defending team you have to be aware of blind runs, and of players playing one-twos.

“They’re hard to defend against. I think we did well but got caught out by two set-pieces – hopefully we’ll improve that tomorrow.

“We’ve spoken about the first leg, and I think there were moments where we were defending too deep.

“Hopefully tomorrow we can use the ball better when we get it, work on the small details, and we’ll be in better shape.”

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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