Ahead of Sunday’s home clash with Burnley, David Moyes has insisted the Premier League remains the most important competition to West Ham (40/1 – Top four finish) despite his side’s impressive run to the semi-finals in the Europa League.
The Hammers are on a high and will play Eintracht Frankfurt over two legs for a place in the Europa League final next month after beating French side Lyon on Thursday 4-1 on aggregate but they must quickly focus back on domestic matters when they entertain managerless Burnley at 14:15 (West Ham 8/11, draw 13/5, Burnley 19/5 – Match Betting).
Moyes’ men could qualify for next season’s Champions League if they were to go on and win the Europa League (15/8) but the Scot says finishing as high as possible in the Premier League remains the priority. West Ham are six points behind current-fourth-placed Tottenham and were handed a boost in their bid to finish in the top four as both Spurs and Arsenal lost on Saturday.
Manchester United are up to fifth after they saw off Norwich 3-2 but the seventh-placed Hammers can go above both the Gunners, who are sixth, and United with a victory over the Clarets.
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Moyes said: “All of the other different competitions are important, but not as important as being a Premier League team.
“The league is really important for us, and as I’ve said many times before, we have to try and hang in there in those European places if we can, and keep trying to win the games.
“It’s where you get the chance to play in Europe – there’s other ways to do [qualify] it but I think it’s much better to achieve it by doing well in the league. I think it also shows consistency if you can finish higher up in the league, in what is a really difficult league.”
Burnley travel to the London Stadium following the shock sacking of Sean Dyche on Friday with under-23 coach Mike Jackson in temporary charge and the visitors are desperate for points as they sit 18th, four points from safety behind Everton.
Aaron Cresswell is available for the hosts again following suspension but Kurt Zouma is out with an ankle injury, while Ben Mee (leg), Johann Berg Gudmundsson (calf) and Erik Pieters (knee) are all absent for Burnley.
The other Premier League game on Sunday sees 15th-placed Newcastle, who are 10 points clear of the bottom three, entertain Leicester, who sit ninth (Newcastle 5/4, draw 23/10, Leicester 9/4 – Match Betting).
Newcastle winger Ryan Fraser is unlikely to feature due to his ongoing hamstring injury, midfielder Joe Willock is a doubt with a knee injury, while Kieran Trippier and Callum Wilson are both making good progress as they recover from injury but Sunday’s game comes too soon.
Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers is set to make changes following their midweek win over PSV Eindhoven which sealed their place in the Europa Conference League semis with defenders James Justin and Caglar Soyuncu among those pushing for recalls.
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