Moyes defends decision to include Zouma in West Ham team after cat-kicking video

French defender took his place in the starting XI just days after a video emerged of him kicking, hitting, and throwing a shoe at his pet cat

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West Ham United manager and "big animal lover" David Moyes has defended his decision to include Kurt Zouma in his starting line-up for Tuesday's Premier League win over Watford.

French defender Zouma was filmed kicking, hitting, and throwing a shoe at his pet cat in a video that has caused widespread outrage and disgust.

West Ham issued a statement earlier in the day denouncing their player while Essex Police and the Zouma's sponsor Adidas both said they were investigating the incident.

Zouma, who apologised for his behaviour, was booed by sections of the crowd on Tuesday and afterwards Moyes was asked whether starting him sent out the correct message.

"I am really disappointed and the club have taken all the actions they can do at the moment and are working on it behind the scenes," Moyes told reporters. "My job is to try and pick a team which gives me the best chance at West Ham and Kurt was part of that team.

"I was really disappointed with what I saw and what I was told. But overall my job tonight was to get a win for West Ham. Of course there are people who are disappointed with that and I understand that totally."

While Moyes said he opted to play Zouma for football reasons, he could not hide his disgust. Asked if he had seen the video, he said: "Yes I have. I was really, really disappointed as I am a big animal lover and someone who cares a lot about my dogs and horses.

"We have all felt it through the team and the club. But we are all on the same feeling it was something which was completely out of order and something we did not expect from Kurt, we did not see that in his character.

"We've not see that from him in anything we have come across with him so we are really disappointed."

West Ham have said they would deal with Zouma internally. Asked what the punishment might be, Moyes said: "I think the club would rather deal with that and in time they will let you know what the action is."

Updated: February 09, 2022, 7:22 AM