Losing Kurt Zouma for Europa League tie at Lyon a big blow – David Moyes

Brentford v West Ham United – Premier League – Brentford Community Stadium
(Image credit: Steve Paston)

David Moyes admits losing Kurt Zouma is a huge blow to West Ham’s Europa League hopes but has backed his side to rise to the challenge in Lyon.

France defender Zouma could face around a month on the sidelines after suffering a twisted ankle against Brentford on Sunday.

The injury has ruled him out of Thursday night’s quarter-final second leg in France where West Ham and the Ligue 1 side are evenly poised at 1-1.

“We are still getting him assessed so I can’t give a time, but he’s not with us,” said Hammers boss Moyes.

“It’s a really big blow when you lose a French international and a World Cup winner, but it happens in football.”

The talented but inconsistent Issa Diop is set to replace Zouma alongside Craig Dawson at the back.

Moyes added: “Issa’s not going to let us down. He’s come in in different times, we relied on him before when Kurt was out. If he gets that opportunity he’ll be able to take it.”

Michail Antonio will start in attack again despite having scored only one goal since New Year’s Day.

“I’m disappointed I’ve not scored in a while, it’s the longest streak not scoring in my career,” said the striker.

“But it’s about being a team player and that’s what I’m doing, I’m bringing the team together. As much as I’m not scoring I feel I’m helping the team out.”

The Hammers will also be without left-back Aaron Cresswell following his controversial red card in the first leg.

Lyon forward Moussa Dembele was captured on camera winking after drawing the foul from Cresswell, ensuring some added spice to the second leg.

Antonio added: “There’s an edge anyway, it’s a quarter-final, the game ends tomorrow and we need to go out and win.

“Whatever happened last week tomorrow was going to be edgy.”

Lyon have injury problems of their own after goalkeeper Anthony Lopes and midfielders Tanguy Ndombele – their goalscorer in the first leg – and Houssem Aouar went off against Strasbourg.

Boss Peter Bosz said: “I’ll talk to the medical staff and we’ll see if they can train with the squad.

“I hope we will learn from the things that we did not do well in the first leg. We have to prepare well for that.

“The biggest difference from the first leg will be the atmosphere. The fans will be behind us this time.”

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