Lucas Perez denies claim he refused to play

Doug Mendoza
September 18, 2018

Manager Manuel Pellegrini later dismissed claims of wrongdoing on Perez's part, claiming he opted for Antonio because of the urgent need for a replacement.

In my current club the substitutes warm up in series of three every five minutes, in continuous rotation.

"When [Marko] Arnautovic was injured, I called him because he was making his warm-up, but when he was back sitting on the bench and [Michail] Antonio was working I called him because he was ready".

"Given the false information spread by the media that has affected my image, I am obliged to explain the only truth: I have never ever refused to warm-up in my whole career, let alone play a match", Perez said via Twitter on Monday.

On the day of his birthday, Manuel Pellegrini was also quick to dismiss talk of a bust-up.

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"But then I saw he was sat on the bench and Antonio was working and ready, that's why I brought him on instead, rather than waiting for Lucas to warm up again". I was anxious about the game, because I was absolutely convinced we must end these bad results.

"I was not anxious about my birthday today - I just wanted to win the game - it was the best gift my players could give me", Pellegrini said.

"It's easy to say that we are going to change and say this isn't the right way, but I am completely convinced it is".

Arnautovic further emphasised his worth to West Ham in the 61st minute as he restored the two-goal advantage, meaning only Liverpool's Mohamed Salah has been involved in more Premier League goals in 2018 than Arnautovic.

Everton did not manage a shot on target in the second half as they slipped to only their third defeat by West Ham in their last 21 Premier League meetings. I don't have any problem with the player.

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