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David Moyes explains why he picked Kurt Zouma to play after vile cat abuse video

Kurt Zouma of West Ham United reacts during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Watford at London Stadium. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

Kevin Palmer

West Ham manager David Moyes condemned his defender Kurt Zouma after a vile video of him abusing his cat emerged earlier this week, but he insisted he had no qualms about picking him for his side's 1-0 win against Watford.

Jarrod Bowen’s second-half goal secured a much-needed victory for the top-four hopefuls, but the main talking point was the controversial inclusion of Zouma.

The French defender was named in the starting line-up despite a police enquiry into a video showing him dropping, kicking and slapping his pet cat, and despite the club insisting that it “unreservedly condemns the actions of our player”.

Moyes defended his decision to pick the player after the match, as he insisted he condemned his actions.

"It's something we’re all disappointed with and something we can’t understand. He’ll learn from it," stated Moyes.

"I am really disappointed and the club have taken all the actions that they can do at the moment. They are working on that behind the scenes. My job is to pick the best team for West Ham and Kurt was part of that team.

"I am a big animal lover. As I said, my job is to try and win for West Ham and to put out the best team for that.

"I think the club would rather deal with it all in time and they will let you know what the action is.

"I was really disappointed with what I saw and what I was told. But as I've said, it was my job to find the best team for West Ham. There will be people who will be disappointed at that and I understand that totally.

"I am someone who cares a lot about my dogs and horses and all the people I am connected with. I have spoken to him and we will move on as much as we can. We wanted to get this game out of the way and we understand nobody will be pleased about it. It is a poor situation.

"Today I had to pick a football team that gave me the best chance of winning the game as manager of West Ham.

"I'm also a human being and a great animal lover, so I know how people feel. But I’m also a football manager here and responsible for getting results here."

Zouma got a first taste of the public outcry towards his cat-kicking shame as West Ham beat Watford 1-0.

Jarrod Bowen’s second-half goal secured a much-needed victory for the top-four hopefuls, but the main talking point was the controversial inclusion of Zouma.

The French defender was named in the starting line-up despite a police enquiry into a video showing him dropping, kicking and slapping his pet cat, and despite the club insisting that it “unreservedly condemns the actions of our player”.

Watford’s visiting fans were quick to make their feelings clear by relentlessly booing Zouma’s every touch and chanting, among other things, ‘RSPCA, RSPCA’.

Former West Ham players Joe Cole and James Collins, at the match working as pundits, felt the club had made a mistake in refusing to drop the 27-year-old.

Cole told BT Sport "I think it’s a miscalculation by the club. He could have sat this one out,” while Collins said on BBC Radio 5 Live: "I think there is a lot of anger and rightly so. I personally don’t think it is the right call."


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