June 19, 2020 / 3:04 PM / 23 days ago

We'd rather have played Wolves after their Europa trip, says Moyes

File Photo: Premier League - West Ham United v Wolverhampton Wanderers - London Stadium, London, Britain - September 1, 2018 West Ham's Marko Arnautovic in action with Wolverhampton Wanderers' Joao Moutinho and Ruben Neves REUTERS/David Klein

(Reuters) - West Ham United manager David Moyes says they would have preferred to play Wolverhampton Wanderers immediately after Nuno Espirito Santo’s team had returned from their Europa League trip to Greece to gain the upper hand in the Premier League clash.

Seventh-placed Wolves held Olympiakos Piraeus to a 1-1 draw in the first leg of the Europa League last 16 on March 12 and were set to play West Ham three days later before the Premier League season was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“They’ve done remarkably well, but we’d have rather played them after they’d been to Greece and it would probably have been a better situation for us,” Moyes told reporters in a virtual news conference ahead of Saturday’s match.

“Ultimately, you have to play every team twice. We have a lot to play for, we’re at home and we have to focus on what we need to do at West Ham.”

West Ham have won only twice in 10 games since David Moyes replaced Manuel Pellegrini at the helm and sit two places above the relegation zone. However, the Scotsman said he was encouraged by the players performances since he took charge in December.

“We felt we were gaining momentum. I only came in at Christmas, so it was difficult to get into the players on the training pitch,” Moyes said.

“We’ve had the chance to work with them and I believe the players have more to show on the pitch and I hope they will do so.”

Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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