There is little doubt that West Ham’s players had Europe on their minds as they faced Leicester yesterday.
Very few of the Hammers players truly extended themselves and were understandably in injury survival mode.
It was certainly no surprise to me that the players who put in real effort were those with something to prove. Whilst none were in top form, it was Coufal, Downes and Fornals who played with real urgency.
None of the above were guaranteed a starting place in Prague, and it showed in their efforts. Those who know they’ll start like Michail Antonio and Declan Rice certainly played in third gear.
Lucas Paqueta started brightly but quickly faded as West Ham failed to match Leicester City’s desperate but futile endeavour.
Moyes will be happy
Ultimately manager David Moyes will be happy to have survived the final game unscathed. Kurt Zouma was rested, Antonio was withdrawn and Rice managed to avoid injury.
The players managed to retain a degree of fitness ahead of a game ten days away. Possibly Pablo Fornals has given the manager some thinking to do and he also has a decision at right back.
Moyes negotiated a tricky fixture, against a desperate team. It wasn’t the result anyone wanted but we have bigger fish to fry and the team played like it.
For West Ham the game didn’t massively matter, with Chelsea drawing only one additional league placing was available.
The season sign-off had been in the penultimate game against Leeds at The London Stadium. Rice and Lanzini both got their goodbye goals, and the team got the home win whilst Paqueta purred.
David Moyes would have wanted to finish the Leicester game with a clean bill of health and that’s what he got.