Xabi Alonso responds after Moyes labels Leverkusen a ‘disgrace’

Ian Watson
Bayer Leverkusen coach Xabi Alonso.
Bayer Leverkusen coach Xabi Alonso watches his side beat West Ham.

Xabi Alonso has dismissed David Moyes’ criticism after the West Ham manager described Bayer Leverkusen’s conduct as ‘disgraceful’ in the  Europa League quarter-final first-leg.

The Hammers defended heroically for 83 minutes of a one-sided encounter against the Bundesliga leaders in Germany.

But late goals from substitutes Jonas Hoffman and Victor Boniface left West Ham with it all to do in next week’s second leg against a team yet to lose any of their 42 matches this season. And they can clinch the Bundesliga title this weekend.

West Ham’s second-leg task was made all the more difficult by Lucas Paqueta’s suspension after the Brazilian was cautioned for a challenge on Amine Adli in front of the benches.

Moyes was left fuming by Leverkusen’s conduct and accused Alonso’s staff and players of influencing the referee.

“Paqueta will be a huge miss but I thought their bench was a disgrace,” said Moyes.

“He [the referee] got surrounded. I thought it was disgraceful and was really disappointing. You should let the referee make the decision and not the way they reacted to the incident.

“I thought it was a rule all the way through. We would not all run off and surround him. It was a poor thing for them to do and they are a good side and they didn’t need to react like that.”

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When Moyes’ assertion was put to Alonso, the Leverkusen boss, who remains open to a Premier League job, suggested the visitors are guilty of similar tactics.

“Oh no, I think it was a tackle that deserved a yellow card. It was fully deserved,” said Alonso.

‘I think David’s talking with the fourth official a lot of times, we all do, I do as well. It’s nothing to talk about disgraceful. I think that we have all the right, he has to see his bench as well.

“I have respect for David but I thought it was the right decision from the referee. We did our thing, we didn’t focus on the other bench.”

Moyes insists West Ham still have “half a chance” to reach the semi-finals despite two-goal defeat at Bayer Leverkusen.

He told TNT Sports: “Leverkusen have a good record of scoring late. We were aware of that. We did a great job but we played against a Champions League side and we’re not quite at that level.

“We’re still in the tie and we have half a chance in the second leg.

“We’d like to have played more attacking. The players did a brilliant job with the structure. We got done by two corner kicks. The second one was really poor from our point of view.

“It’s going to take some performance because they’re a really good team. You never know what’s going to happen. Let’s try to get one and then see if we can get two. We’ll pick ourselves up for next week and hopefully get the crowd behind us.

“This team we’re playing will be Champions League next year. We have to recognise what we’re playing against. We’ll have to do exceptionally well to get that result.”

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