Zabaleta: We never gave up

Pablo Zabaleta hailed the Hammers’ character in pushing Tottenham Hotspur to the limit at London Stadium on Saturday, but admitted that could not mask the feeling of disappointment after their London rivals edged a five-goal derby.

West Ham seemed dead and buried when they trailed 3-0 after an hour, but they dragged themselves back into the contest with two headers from Chicharito and Cheikhou Kouyate.

That set up a grandstand finish, and although the Hammers threw everything at their visitors, Mauricio Pochettino’s men stood firm, leaving Zabaleta to reflect on what might have been.

“Of course, it’s a disappointing afternoon when you don’t win,” he said. “It was a huge game for us, a derby, and we knew three points would take us to a better position in the table, so it was not good enough in terms of the result.

“I thought we were playing really well until the first goal, with great determination, but after they went 1-0 up the second goal came very quickly.

“They got the third goal after half time and it’s so difficult, but we did everything possible on the pitch to at least get a draw. And we should take that – there were a lot of positive things apart from the result.

“We never gave up, we went for goals. We scored two and there were a few minutes left in the game to try and equalise.

“We had a situation in the area when there might have been a push on Andy Carroll. It reminded me a bit of my penalty against Southampton at the end of the game, it was very similar, but different decisions and it’s a shame because it would have been a good chance to score a penalty.”

Pablo Zabaleta

The Hammers are at home against next week when they face Swansea City and Zabaleta knows it is important to put this result behind them as quickly as possible.

He added: “We have another home game before the international break and it’s going to be a huge game for us. We know we’re not in the best position in the table and we want to be better.

“We have to say thank you to the fans for their support. Unfortunately we couldn’t give them a great day, but it’s a moment to react as a team, as players, and come back strong next weekend, to try and perform well enough to get the three points and let the fans enjoy a good win.”