West Ham boss David Moyes hopes Michail Antonio can give Manchester City a few different things to worry about on Sunday after facing Lionel Messi in the Champions League.
Irons frontman Antonio was one of several players rested for the Europa League win away to Rapid Vienna on Thursday night, which secured safe passage into the last 16 at the top of Group H with a match to spare.
City, meanwhile, saw off Paris St Germain 2-1 in their Champions League tie, eventually able to overcome the threat of Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe after the Frenchman had put the visitors ahead at the Etihad Stadium.
Jamaica international Antonio has impressed for Moyes’ well-drilled side this season, providing a powerful attacking threat which has helped West Ham climb into the top four.
While Moyes knows just what challenge is in front of them this weekend, it is one he feels his side can tackle head on.
“Mich will probably cause them different problems than Messi would do, but I think Manchester City have shown exactly what they are,” the West Ham manager said.
“Everybody is trying to aspire to play like Man City, be at their level, but that takes time, you cannot do that immediately.
“Even Manchester City have not done it immediately, they have taken a long period over it, but they have got a great team and great manager as well.”
Moyes added: “We have challenged the top teams. We got a result against Liverpool, so I want to see if we can compete against them and make things difficult for the big sides.”
West Ham knocked holders City out of the Carabao Cup on penalties when they met at the London Stadium last month.
— West Ham United (@WestHam) November 26, 2021
Moyes, though, stressed that achievement must be put into context.
“We knocked them out, we didn’t beat them (over 90 minutes), but beat them on penalties,” he said.
“We have shown signs, we went up there last year and made it a tough game, so we are trying to get closer to them.
“But as you can see, even with players the level of PSG, it is hard to stop Man City, and we know how difficult the game is going to be.”
Moyes will recall his regulars on Sunday, but praised the way the team produced the required response in Austria.
“We always wanted to use our whole squad and we have done that through the tournament so far,” the West Ham boss said.
“It has worked and the results and performances have been excellent.
“We have taken a few risks with it (team selection), but last night was a good result and a very professional performance.”
Earlier this month, Czech businessman Daniel Kretinsky completed his purchase of a 27 per cent stake in West Ham.
Kretinsky, who owns Czech club Sparta Prague, and his colleague Pavel Horsky have been appointed to the board at the London Stadium alongside joint-chairmen David Sullivan and David Gold and vice-chair Karren Brady.
Documents submitted to Companies House show a “put and call agreement” is in place, meaning majority stakeholder Sullivan can sell his shares to Kretinsky at an already agreed price and Kretinsky also holds the option to buy those shares as well as Gold’s holding.
The PA news agency understands these are options held by both parties, only in place for a certain time and not an obligation or a deal agreed for any takeover.