Michail Antonio BLASTS officials in post-match rant following West Ham's Europa League loss to Bayer Leverkusen… as the forward insists his side 'remained professional' despite quarter-final frustrations
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Michail Antonio BLASTS officials in post-match rant following West Ham's Europa League loss to Bayer Leverkusen… as the forward insists his side 'remained professional' despite quarter-final frustrations

Apr 24, 2024
  • Antonio complained of not getting a decision ‘all game’ following his side’s loss
  • He also targeted the assistant referees in interview riddled with disappointment
  • Hope is not lost for Arsenal and it’s wrong for Oleksandr Zinchenko to be a scapegoat: Listen to the It’s All Kicking Off podcast 

Michail Antonio has blasted the officials for their roles in West Ham’s defeat to Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League.

The Hammers came up short in their bid to pull off the almost impossible against the newly-crowned Bundesliga champions, drawing 1-1 on the night but losing 3-1 on aggregate.

Antonio had given the hosts the lead to give them hope in the game, but they were unable to breach Xabi Alonso‘s side’s defences again and Jeremie Frimpong netted minutes from time to put the tie to bed.

The Premier League side no less can be proud of their efforts, but Antonio chose to focus on one area of the game that was beyond his control in his post-match interview.

Speaking to TNT Sports, he criticised Spanish referee Jose Maria Sanchez Martinez for his performance, and also picked out the two assistant referees for criticism.

West Ham forward Michail Antonio blasted officials following West Ham's Europa League exit

West Ham forward Michail Antonio blasted officials following West Ham’s Europa League exit

The forward complained of not getting a decision 'all game' as his side exited the competition

The forward complained of not getting a decision ‘all game’ as his side exited the competition

West Ham went into the game with the aggregate score at 2-0 to Leverkusen and drew 1-1 on the night

West Ham went into the game with the aggregate score at 2-0 to Leverkusen and drew 1-1 on the night

‘Obviously disappointed,’ Antonio said, reflecting on the game. ‘Last week we gave them a bit too much respect, but this week we came out and showed them what we can do.

‘I felt like I didn’t get a decision all game. I felt a bit frustrated. We felt like we deserved more. But it’s football, sometimes the decisions don’t go your way. We move on and build on that and try to get into the Europa League next year. 

‘It doesn’t feel like you’re playing against 11 men, it feels like you’re playing against 13 or 14 including the two linos.

‘You just have to keep pushing and try and make the decisions go your way. And they just weren’t. We had to keep playing our way and keep being professional. We’re very proud of ourselves, to achieve what we’ve achieved over the last four years is incredible. 

‘Four back-to-back years in European quarter-finals I would never have thought that. We were a yo-yo team, into Europe, then fighting for relegation.’

The Hammers are looking to qualify for European football once again next season, currently eighth in the Premier League table, two points off of Manchester United in seventh though having played a game more.

They will almost certainly need to leapfrog the Red Devils to make it into Europe again, with Germany dominating the UEFA coefficient rankings following this week’s European fixtures.

Antonio had given his side hope with a header to put the hosts 1-0 up in the game in London

Antonio had given his side hope with a header to put the hosts 1-0 up in the game in London

The Hammers' exit delivered another devastating blow to the Premier League's hopes of earning another European place next season

The Hammers’ exit delivered another devastating blow to the Premier League’s hopes of earning another European place next season

Europe’s top leagues have been going head-to-head this season in a bid to earn an additional spot in next season’s competition, with two countries to do so ahead of the introduction of the new Champions League format.

The continent’s premier competition will be expanded from next year for the first time since 2003-2004, growing from 32 clubs in an eight-group style to 36 clubs in what is known as a ‘Swiss’ format.

Germany were ahead of England following the Champions League fixtures, and have now extended their lead following Leverkusen’s win over the Hammers.

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