West Ham’s Lucas Perez has hit back at “false” reports he refused to warm up and come on as a substitute in the second half of the 3-1 victory at Everton on Sunday.
The former Arsenal forward was named on the bench at Goodison Park but looked in line to come on and make his third substitute appearance of the campaign when Marko Arnautovic suffered an injury moments after scoring West Ham’s third goal of the game.
However, manager Manuel Pellegrini opted to bring on Michail Antonio instead, with some reports claiming Lucas had refused to warm up.
— Lucas Pérez (@LP10oficial) 17 September 2018
“Given the false information spread by various media that affect my image, I am forced to explain the only truth: I have never refused to warm up in my career and even less to play,” Perez said.
Reports claimed Perez had a bust-up with West Ham goalkeeping coach Xavi Valero as cameras showed the pair having a deep conversation on the bench.
But Perez has claimed the images have been misunderstood.
“In my current club the substitutes warm up in series of three every five minutes, in continuous rotation. When Marko was injured, I was on the bench after having warmed up,” Perez added.
“The manager called me to go out to play and when he found that it was faster to put Antonio, who at that moment was warming up in band, he changed his decision.
“The images that have been misinterpreted correspond to a talk with the goalkeeper’s coach, in which I never refused to warm up and explained what happened.
“As a professional I accept the decision and I will continue working hard to have as many minutes as I can.”
Information from ESPN FC’s Eduardo Fernandez-Abascal was used in this report.