London — West Ham manager David Moyes says Kurt Zouma needs to focus on football as the France defender deals with the fall-out from his cat abuse shame.
Zouma was fined two weeks’ wages and dropped by his personal kit supplier Adidas after he was filmed kicking and slapping his pet cat.
The 27-year-old issued an apology but his behaviour was strongly condemned across the football world.
Despite the outcry, Moyes chose to play Zouma in a Premier League match against Watford immediately after the video went public.
Zouma withdrew from last Sunday’s draw at Leicester after feeling ill just before kick-off, but he could return against Newcastle on Saturday.
“He’s better, but it’s taken him a couple of days to get over it – he had quite bad sickness and illness, but he’s trained the last couple of days, so I’m hoping that he’ll be available,” Moyes told reporters on Friday.
Zouma was jeered by Watford and Leicester fans after his shocking behaviour.
There were calls in France for him to be banned from the national team after the video showed him throwing a shoe at the cat while laughter was heard in the background.
But Moyes has stuck by Zouma, insisting that he deserved a second chance, and he wants his centre-back to make sure football is his only focus from now on.
“I think he’s probably really disappointed about what he’s done and he’s thinking about it a lot, no doubt, but overall we have tried to get him to move on,” Moyes said.
“We want him to concentrate on his training. He played very well for us against Watford the other week there, so we’re hoping that we can keep him at those levels of performance, we’ll be pleased with that.
“He’s really well-liked here amongst the supporters, the performances he’s put in throughout the season already, so hopefully he can focus on his football and we’ll give him as much support as we can until we get him right back to his best.”