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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Malik Ouzia

West Ham don’t fear ‘tough’ Newcastle test despite PSG thrashing, says Nayef Aguerd

Nayef Aguerd says West Ham have no fear of Newcastle heading into Sunday’s Premier League clash, despite witnessing the Toon’s mauling of Paris Saint-Germain in midweek.

Eddie Howe’s side enjoyed a famous night as Champions League football returned to St James’s Park on Wednesday, Kylian Mbappe and Co leaving Tyneside chastened after a 4-1 thrashing.

Aguerd watched that game at West Ham’s team hotel in Germany before the Hammers continued their own fine start to the season with a 2-1 victory over Freiburg in the Europa League 24 hours later.

That win made it six points from six in Europe, while the Irons are also through to the Carabao Cup fourth round and currently sit seventh in the Premier League having been beaten only by Manchester City and Liverpool. Confidence, then, is understandably high going into Sunday’s meeting with the Magpies.

“In the Premier League every weekend you have big games,” defender Aguerd said. “Newcastle are very, very tough to play, but we play at home, in front of our fans and I hope it’ll be a great afternoon for them. We’ll give everything to make them happy.

“We’ve played big teams. City and Liverpool are some of the best teams in the world. We showed quality and unfortunately we had some details to erase. Now it’s behind us, we focus on the next games.

“We’re ready for Newcastle. In football, fear doesn’t exist. It’s an exciting game and those types of fixtures are the reason why I’m in the Premier League.”

No fear: Nayef Aguerd will not be intimidated when West Ham face Newcastle on Sunday (Getty Images)

Aguerd was on the scoresheet in Freiburg, heading home a second-half winner after home midfielder Roland Sallai had cancelled out Lucas Paqueta’s opener.

The Moroccan’s goal came, inevitably, from a James Ward-Prowse corner and Hammers boss David Moyes has challenged his centre-backs to fill their boots this season, such is the quality of the former Southampton man’s delivery.

“We all know that this year on set-pieces we’re performing,” Aguerd said. “We have Prowsey who has a wonderful delivery.

“We know now that when we have corners or set-pieces in general, we know we can be very dangerous. We know his quality so we need to expect it in those positions.

“This time it was me, last time it was Kurt [Zouma] against Luton, Tomas [Soucek] also has scored from set-pieces. So yeah, we play with our weapons.”

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