Zabaleta: We weren’t clinical enough


West Ham United defender Pablo Zabaleta bemoaned his side’s failure to convert their chances in front of goal at Vicarage Road as Watford were 2-0 winners in the Premier League on Sunday.

Will Hughes and Richarlison scored for the hosts to seal the victory but it could have been an altogether different story had David Moyes’ team put away the opportunities that came their way.

Cheikhou Kouyate and Marko Arnautovic were both superbly denied by Brazilian stopper Heurelho Gomes from point blank range in the first half, and Senegal midfielder Kouyate spurned a great chance to equalise after the break as he fired over from Arnautovic’s cut-back.

Manuel Lanzini also had a shot cleared off the line and Argentinian defender Zabaleta was left frustrated as the chances came and went.

“That’s the difference, when you are not clinical enough in front of goal,” he said after the defeat. “Even when you don’t play well, but you create chances, you have to take them. We had a few chances in the game.

“That makes the difference in games, of course it does. It was a very disappointing afternoon, for sure. It wasn’t good enough again.

Even when you don’t play well, but you create chances, you have to take them. That's the difference, when you are not clinical enough

Pablo Zabaleta

Pablo Zabaleta
“It seems like we are repeating the same words every week. The game was over after 2-0. It’s the same feeling every time.

“We concede two goals and then it’s difficult and we are not in the game anymore. We lost our concentration and at that level, it’s not good.”

The defeat was a third in four Premier League games for the Hammers and it leaves them in the bottom three, a point from the safety of 17th.

Moyes’ team have only four days until they can once again try and turn their fortunes around, though; they host Leicester City on Friday and full-back Zabaleta’s focus has already switched to the huge London Stadium clash.

“We have Leicester at home so hopefully we can put in a performance and win that game,” he continued. “Listen, football is about moments. We know exactly that from the beginning of the season, we’ve not been good enough.

“As I said before, players must take responsibility for that. We have a new manager and new staff and it’s a matter of keeping working.

“We are doing that during the week and we probably need to be more focused on what we have to improve on during the week and of course then, when you win, that brings the confidence back to work in a better situation.

“As I say, I can see a few teams at the moment that the reality is we’re fighting for the bottom three. We need to improve of course to win games and get us in a better position.

“There’s still a long way to go. Of course it’s a difficult moment for everyone, and players need to take responsibility for that and just move onto the next game.”