Team News: West Ham United
By Kevin Affleck
Étienne Capoue has shrugged off the minor groin complaint that kept him out of the game against Chelsea and is set to return for the final game of the season at home to West Ham United on Sunday.
The newly-crowned Graham Taylor OBE Player of the Season missed a game through injury for the first time this season last week after straining his groin in the home defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers. The news came as a blow, especially with the FA Cup final on the horizon, but the medical team have nursed him back to full fitness and he’s ready to go against the Hammers at Vicarage Road.
“We recovered Capoue last week and he will be available,” said Javi Gracia. “He deserves the recognition of the award. He’s played really well and has been very important for us. Everybody knows he’s an amazing player but I think this season he was able to keep consistent, keep his level and show his level the whole season.”
Gracia is only without Sebastian Prödl and Domingos Quina this weekend, giving him the opportunity to rest some weary legs but there appears to be no chance of the Head Coach doing that. He won’t be wrapping anyone in cotton wool.
“You can’t think like that,” he said. “It doesn’t help. Players get injured all the time but what can I do? Tell the players not to train, tell nobody move, tell nobody to move, tell everybody to go to stay at home and go to bed and then you will be ready? This is not true. They won’t be ready this way. We have to do the same behaviour as we have always done.”
Gracia wants his players to play with the foot to the floor against West Ham, like they did in the second half against Fulham leading up to the FA Cup semi-final.
“There is no other way to prepare, no better way,” he said. “It is to play well in this game. West Ham is playing very well and players like Anderson, like Arnautović can make the difference in every single game. We have to be ready for that, thinking not only about the result. The result will be a consequence of good play. After the game is finished we have time to prepare for the final. I know it’s a special game, I know it, but the best way is to train every day and play as well as possible.”