David Moyes complains that leopards ate his face as West Ham season left on the brink

Matt Stead
West Ham coaches Kevin Nolan and David Moyes react during the defeat to Fulham
Kevin Nolan and David Moyes, deep in thought

David Moyes said West Ham ‘dominated possession’ but ‘were caught out by a long ball’ and ‘got done on the counter-attack’ by Fulham. So his own medicine.

The Hammers were beaten 2-0 by Bundesliga leaders Bayer Leverkusen in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final on Thursday, leaving them with a mountain to climb in the return match. And Moyes even had a little tiff with Xabi Alonso.

They then blew the chance to climb up to sixth place in the Premier League, and right back into the European shake-up, after two Andreas Pereira goals secured a first win in four for Fulham.

It was the first time the Cottagers had won away to West Ham since 2001 and having dominated the reverse fixture 5-0 in December, they completed a league double over their London rivals for the first time since 1966.

Leverkusen will not be quaking in their boots on the evidence of this timid display.

“I thought we started well and should have been one or two goals up before they scored,” Moyes said, before in the next paragraph accidentally capturing the annoyed post-match thoughts of every manager who has ever lost to David Moyes.

We were caught out by a long ball, we didn’t deal with it well. And we missed some opportunities to score as well. I think we dominated possession, kept the ball and passed it quite well. But we got done on the counter-attack.

That right there is a defeat to a David Moyes team he has just described.

“I’m gutted, today was a great chance to go sixth with five games to go, what a great position to be in,” Moyes added, looking on the bright side of a ruinous four days in the club’s season.

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The Scot also sent his best wishes to West Ham teenager George Earthy, who was stretchered off the pitch on his debut in the second half.

The 19-year-old had just come on as a substitute when he collided with team-mate Edson Alvarez in the middle of the field.

Earthy fell to the ground awkwardly and appeared to have been knocked out cold, sparking worrying scenes as medics and team-mates rushed to help the stricken youngster.

After receiving treatment for eight minutes, Earthy was carried off on a stretcher. He was conscious when he was taken out of the London Stadium in an ambulance around 20 minutes after full-time.

The Hammers said: ‘West Ham United can confirm George Earthy will undergo an assessment in a London hospital this evening following the incident which saw him stretchered off during today’s Premier League fixture against Fulham.

‘The midfielder – who entered the field as a second half substitute to make his Premier League debut against the Cottagers – was taken off in stoppage time.’

Moyes said: “I am really disappointed for George. He has been doing really well in training, done really well for the Under-21s.

“He started well with the ball, had some really nice touches. He is fine. It is a head knock. He is awake and has gone to hospital, we think he is OK at the moment. We all thought he had been knocked out but I don’t know any more.”

Fulham moved back to 12th with the victory, six points behind the Hammers and now guaranteed safety – although relegation worries were hardly prevalent beforehand for manager Marco Silva.

“Great win for us,” he said. “Well played from ourselves and to be honest we deserved the three points.

“West Ham had a good chance to score but after that, we scored the first goal and started to control the game. Overall we scored twice but created more chances to score as well.

“I think we were solid, compact and kept our concentration. We should have scored more goals to be even more comfortable.”