Paqueta x Emerson

Hammers duo Emerson and Paquetá ready to give everything in crucial run-in

Lucas Paquetá and Emerson are relishing the opportunity to return to the West Ham United squad for Sunday's important Premier League clash against Crystal Palace – and are determined to produce on the domestic front as they aim to seal a return to European competition next season. 

The Brazilian duo were both absent during the Hammers’ spirited 3-1 aggregate UEFA Europa League quarter-final defeat to Bayer Leverkusen on Thursday night due to suspension, after picking up three yellow cards apiece during the competition. 

David Moyes’ side suffered a disappointing home defeat at the hands of Fulham last out in the league and will be looking for a strong reaction to get their continental ambitions back on track in south London.

We are expecting a big game and I think the last few games of every season are tough because every team is fighting for important places in the table

"We started the game well [against Fulham] and we created some chances to score the first goal, but then we conceded and after that I think we lost a bit of confidence and gave away a lot of easy passes,” said Emerson. 

“We tried our best in the second half [to score an equaliser] but they scored a second goal on the counter-attack. We know that in the Premier League every game is tough, but we need to stay calm because we are in a good position to qualify for Europe next season. We have five games to go, and we need to try and win as many of them as we can. 

“Crystal Palace won against Liverpool at Anfield, which is a big result for them. We know of their quality because we lost both games against them last season, then this season at home we drew. We know their strengths when they play at home and the atmosphere will be good after a big result. It’s not easy to play against Liverpool at Anfield, but they won. 

"We are expecting a big game and I think the last few games of every season are tough because every team is fighting for important places in the table. 

"It’s a big game for us and for them [Crystal Palace] as well. They will have a lot of confidence. We are ready for the challenge and are training for it. We will go there and have a lot of respect for them, but we need to win the game.”

Paqueta x Emerson

The full-back scored a stunning goal in the 4-2 victory over Brentford in February to put the cap on a brilliant individual performance.

His understanding with former Lyon team-mate and close friend Lucas Paquetá gives the Hammers a strong presence down the left flank, while they hope to use that bond to their advantage as put their full focus towards finishing the season strongly. 

“It’s good [having that partnership] as we know each other very well and of course we are best friends off the pitch as well,” Emerson said. 

“It is important not just for us, but for the team, and we try to give everything to try help the team. It’s a good connection and let’s see if we can help the team even more. 

Paquetá added: “It is very good to play with Emerson. He knows exactly how I play and knows my body language so that helps a lot in the sense of helping us connect well on the pitch. 

"We played at Lyon together as well, even though we were not as good friends as we are today, but we understood each other. It’s good to have a player like him because we don’t just help one another, we help the team as well. We have a great relationship outside of the pitch as well and we are like family.”