Xabi Alonso aims subtle dig at David Moyes after furious Europa League bust-up with West Ham boss

Billy McKinlay was sent off after clashing with the Bayer Leverkusen bench
Billy McKinlay was sent off after clashing with the Bayer Leverkusen bench -Credit:John Walton/PA Wire

Xabi Alonso has suggested that David Moyes' heated remarks about the officiating may have played a part in the touchline fracas during Thursday night's match between West Ham and Bayer Leverkusen.

In a pivotal Europa League encounter at the London Stadium, a confrontation between the two benches took place before the break. Both West Ham's assistant coach Billy McKinlay and Leverkusen's Sebastian Parrilla were dismissed by the official for their involvement in the heated exchange.

While neither Alonso nor Moyes were directly engaged in the altercation, the Bayer Leverkusen manager implied that Moyes might share some responsibility. When questioned whether Moyes' vocal criticism of the referee following the first-leg had an impact, Alonso responded: "I would not say no."

Moyes had previously expressed his anger with the refereeing after West Ham's 2-0 loss in Leverkusen, reports the Mirror. He was particularly incensed by the booking of Brazilian midfielder Lucas Paqueta, which resulted in a ban for the second leg. A week earlier, Moyes had remarked: "He [Paqueta] will be a huge miss but I thought their bench was a disgrace.

"He [the referee] got surrounded. I thought it was disgraceful and was really disappointing. You should let the referee make the decision and not the way they reacted to the incident.

"I thought it was a rule all the way through. We would not all run off and surround him. It was a poor thing for them to do and they are a good side and they didn't need to react like that."

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In response to these comments, Alonso countered: "Oh no, I think it was a tackle that deserved a yellow card. It was fully deserved. I think David's talking with the fourth official a lot of times, we all do, I do as well.

"It's nothing to talk about disgraceful. I think that we have all the right, he has to see his bench as well. I have respect for David but I thought it was the right decision from the referee. We did our thing, we didn't focus on the other bench."

West Ham managed to pull off a commendable 1-1 draw with Leverkusen in their second-leg encounter, with Michail Antonio and Jeremie Frimpong proving lethal in front of goal.

After the final whistle, Antonio criticised the refereeing once more, stating: "It doesn't feel like you're playing against 11 men, it feels like you're playing against 14 including the two lions (sic). It's just one of those things where you have to keep pushing, make decisions go your way and remain professional."