'I'm not going to lie': West Ham player admits he was 'hurt' by what David Moyes did at the weekend
Michail Antonio was among the West Ham players rested by manager David Moyes against Chelsea on Sunday.
The Hammers suffered a late defeat against their London rivals, but have bigger fish to fry tonight in their Europa League semi-final against Eintracht Frankfurt.
Moyes has a thin squad which he has coaxed through the season and decided that Antonio, as well as Declan Rice, could not be risked ahead of tonight’s game.
West Ham have a chance to do something special in Europe, but Antonio admitted on the BBC’s Footballer’s Football Podcast that he was hurt by Moyes’ decision to leave him out at Stamford Bridge.
“I’m not going to lie to you. It hurt me. I’ve not spoke to the manager but it hurt me,” he said.
“When I’m fit I want to play. The fact is over the last few years my injuries, I’ve not been able to stay fit.
“This season I’ve stayed fit, so because I’ve stayed fit I want to play. Whatever game comes around I want to be on the pitch, and if I’m not on the pitch I want to be.
“So I was upset I didn’t get on, but the gaffer had different plans. We have a massive game Thursday, I don’t know if I’m playing, but I’m hoping that’s the reason I didn’t get a run out, to keep me fit for that.”
Moyes keeping Antonio fresh for huge clash
Antonio is West Ham’s only recognised striker and it does make sense that he would be rested as Moyes makes Europe his priority.
He offers an insight into the mindset of footballers who want to play every game, and Antonio of course needs some more goals for some confidence to boot.
But if he scores tonight, the decision will look like a masterstroke as West Ham look to earn an advantage to take to Germany in a week’s time.
They are 270 minutes away from immortality and Antonio – as well as Rice – are a huge part of that. Moyes already has a defensive injury crisis, and the last thing he would need on top of that is one of his other stars getting ruled out because they have been overplayed.
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