David Moyes hopeful ill West Ham trio could return for Manchester United clash
David Moyes has offered further details on the bout of illness that saw three key players ruled out of West Ham’s 3-0 defeat at Manchester City, with a staff member also affected.
A wave of sickness swept through the Hammers’ squad overnight, causing midfield duo Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek and Moroccan defender Nayef Aguerd all to be sent home earlier on Wednesday.
Moyes was left with a depleted squad and brought in the likes of Angelo Ogbonna, Aaron Cresswell, Thilo Kehrer and Flynn Downes in a makeshift 5-4-1 formation, as well as naming two goalkeepers on a seven-man bench.
West Ham defended resolutely in the first half against City, but unanswered goals by Nathan Ake, Erling Haaland and Phil Foden saw Pep Guardiola’s side return to the top of the Premier League table.
Expanding further on the sickness bug in his post-match press conference, Moyes said: “Two of them we’re not sure if it’s food poisoning. One of them we think is a virus. Hopefully they’ll have a chance [to face Manchester United at] the weekend.
“There was another staff member with the same sickness as well, so that’s why we were worried that it was either food poisoning or worse.
“I knew in the morning that there had been sickness. One of them had a really high temperature. One of them had to go away at 11 o’clock and the other two at 2 o’clock, when they weren’t getting any better.”
Moyes also confirmed that an apparent hamstring injury suffered by right-back Vladimir Coufal at the Etihad would be assessed on Thursday, with the manager hoping that it’s not too bad.
Moyes was pleased with parts of the performance by his relegation-threatened side against City, but wasn’t impressed by their lack of bite in the final third.
“For whole periods against a really good team, we made it quite difficult,” he said. “All in all, it’s not a good result. Performances at this time of the year don’t matter, certainly not as much as they do at the beginning [of the season].”
Told by reporters that Guardiola had praised West Ham’s defence, Moyes replied: “I wish he was praising our attacking play as well, but I couldn’t say that [was likely]. Our defensive structure was very good today.
“We didn’t cause them enough problems. We’ve got to remember, Bayern Munich, who are a great team, have turned up here and been turned over. Arsenal have come here and been turned over.
“To concede the set-piece was galling, because we had done a really good job for long periods and we were going to have to do it again. Maybe tonight we just didn’t have the stature that we’ve had in other games.”
Reflecting on Ake’s unmarked header from a free-kick which was City’s opener in the second half, Moyes admitted: “It was a poor one against a side who can score some great ones.”