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Kurt Zouma worry for West Ham ahead of Europa League quarter-final second leg

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

West Ham are anxiously waiting to discover the extent of Kurt Zouma’s injury ahead of one of the biggest nights in the club’s recent history.

France defender Zouma limped out of Sunday’s 2-0 defeat at Brentford after twisting his ankle.

The 27-year-old faces a race to be fit for Thursday night’s Europa League second leg in Lyon, where the Hammers will bid to reach a first European semi-final in 46 years.

Manager David Moyes said: “We don’t know how bad it is. We’ll get him checked. Coming off is not a good sign but hopefully it’s not too bad.”

Moyes was at least boosted by the return to fitness of right-back Vladimir Coufal at Brentford following hernia surgery.

The Czech international revealed he had been playing with the injury all season until he went under the knife in February.

“I was struggling since the start of the season. It started in Euro 2020 but I didn’t pay attention because I thought it would pass,” said Coufal.

“After it was more serious and more serious and I was still playing.

“I worked really hard for six weeks. The first prediction was to return after six weeks, and after five weeks I was ready to play.

“The medical team did an amazing job. I need to thank them because they looked after me like their kids.

“Also I need to thank my wife because for the five days after the surgery I was like a third kid. I couldn’t do anything. I could only lie on the sofa, it was unpleasant because it was so painful.

“Now hopefully I will be healthy again and enjoy playing again.”

The Hammers’ European exertions caught up with them at Brentford, but they need to pick themselves up quickly as they head to France with their quarter-final tie evenly poised at 1-1.

“It was a tough game,” added Coufal. “The guys did an unbelievable job on Thursday against Lyon and it is acceptable that they were a bit tired. It is difficult to play so many games like we have this season.

“I enjoy playing twice a week because I feel like a new player, so I am very confident.

“We will see what happens on Thursday with Lyon. We are going to do everything to reach the semi-final.”

Second-half goals from Bryan Mbeumo and Ivan Toney lifted Brentford 12 points clear of the relegation zone.

And Toney feels the Bees have done enough to secure another season in the Premier League.

“Are we safe? Yeah, 100 per cent,” the striker said. “I felt like we were safe before.

“With the players we’ve got in the team, I feel like we’ve got more than enough to stay in the league.”

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