By Peter Lynch

15th Mar, 2023 | 9:10pm

David Moyes backs West Ham winger Maxwel Cornet to shine in UECL clash after five-month injury nightmare

West Ham manager David Moyes is hoping Maxwel Cornet can play a key role in their upcoming Europa Conference League round of 16 second-leg clash with AEK Larnaca on Thursday night (16 March).

The winger has missed the majority of the campaign through a rare muscle injury in his calf which he picked up in the Premier League meeting with Wolves back in October 2022.

But Cornet has now returned to the pitch, coming off the bench in West Ham’s last two matches, including the first-leg victory over AEK Larnaca on 9 March.

“We’ll try to give him minutes on Thursday night too,” said Moyes, as quoted on West Ham’s official website. “If anyone is out for five months they’d need a good pre-season, friendly games etc, but we know we’re in a situation where we have to act quite quick and he’s shown a couple of bits.

“He made a great pass for Lucas Paqueta in Cyprus, so I think his attributes are that he has the ability to get around the goals, so let’s hope we can get him to do that.”

Cornet can help Hammers recover

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West Ham have struggled domestically this season, with their only saving grace being their strong run in Europe, where they are now chasing a 10th successive win.

Injuries to the likes of key players Nayef Aguerd, Michail Antonio, Lukasz Fabianski, Kurt Zouma, Danny Ings and indeed Cornet throughout various stages of the season have prevented the Hammers from finding their form in the Premier League.

But that has not been the case in the Europa Conference League, with the London outfit topping their group with six wins from their six matches. They scored 13 goals in the group stages and conceded just four.

The quality of the opposition will, however, improve as the competition progresses, with West Ham also needing to keep a keen eye on their Premier League future.

The Hammers currently sit 17th in the league table, with only goal difference keeping them out of the relegation zone.

The return of Cornet will be a welcome sign for all associated with the club, giving manager Moyes a different outlet, with the Hammers struggling greatly in the final third this season.