George Parris: ‘Kurt Zouma made a mistake but the club should’ve handled it better’

There is absolutely no excusing what Kurt Zouma has done – it was an incredible mistake – but how this saga was handled has baffled me.

From a club’s point of view, we had a great opportunity on the day of the Watford game to announce that Kurt wasn’t going to play pending an investigation into those videos.

That’s the course of action that we should have taken because, to me, it just made sense for him not to play.

That would’ve been the club looking at the bigger picture, given the fact the story broke so close to our game against Watford.

The club should have taken the decision out of the manager’s hands. He’d taken a knock against Kidderminster so that would have been an understandable reason for him not to have played.

But the club didn’t come out and say he isn’t going to play, you can’t really blame Moyes for wanting to play his best defender, and our actions gave this story more air.

It got bigger and bigger and suddenly people who know nothing about football – or who don’t have anything to do with it – were airing their opinion and it became worldwide news.

It shouldn’t have become the story it did, and the saga somewhat overshadowed things on the pitch.

But it could be said that it may have had a positive impact on the team – maybe it galvanised them a bit.

It’s us against the world and that mentality can be powerful. After beating Watford, we went on to draw away at Leicester and at home to an improved Newcastle so, despite the performances, we remained unbeaten after catgate.

I think the Newcastle game will maybe be seen as a good point for us come the end of the season because we weren’t in that game.

We nearly went in at half time one up and if that had been the case, we probably could’ve gone on to get all three points. But I think a draw was a fair result for us.

As for the Leicester game, to score so late in the game to snatch the draw – it’s always a great feeling to rescue a point at the death.

Again we didn’t play particularly well but we didn’t lose and that’s just as important for us now as we start to get to the business end of the season.

The next run of games are absolutely huge for our season. This will be where our season is made or broken.

The FA Cup clash at Southampton, the Europa League tie against Sevilla and three big games in the league.

It will be interesting to see how we approach the Liverpool game. Moyes might write it off and mix up his starting XI with a few squad players. 

I don’t think we will get anything there with the way we are playing and the way they are playing – and it could give some of our key players a rest before we travel to Spain.

Realistically we are an eighth to fifth place side at the moment. I have always said that.

We have been punching above our weight but we are still hanging in there. 

The issue we were always going to have is that we haven’t got many choices when it comes to personnel.

Now, it looks like not bringing in fresh legs in January has already had a negative impact.

There were a few players in the Newcastle game who looked a yard off the pace, no matter how hard they tried and there were just too many passes going awry and not reaching their man.

When you look at our bench – certainly when Lanzini isn’t on it – there isn’t really anyone at this moment in time that can come on to change the game.

A couple of extra bodies in January would have given us an added boost but we’ve just got to keep plugging away now until the summer.

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