Pablo Zabaleta has challenged West Ham United to end their amazing run without back-to-back Premier League victories by beating Cardiff City on Tuesday evening.
The Hammers have not won consecutive top-flight matches since January 2017, when they defeated Crystal Palace and Middlesbrough, 68 games ago.
However, after scoring a deserved 3-0 success at Newcastle United on Saturday, Zabaleta is targeting another three points when newly-promoted Cardiff visit London Stadium.
It’s been a long time since West Ham won two or three games in a row, so this is a big chance for us because we’ve got two home games now, but it depends on us
“We are thinking about Tuesday, then we will think about Saturday [and Crystal Palace], but the main thing we need to focus on is Tuesday night because it’s another crucial game against a team who is fighting around us,” said the Argentinian.
“I saw their game on Friday night [when they beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-1] and we know how tough Cardiff are, especially physically they are a strong team.
“We need to put in another strong performance on Tuesday night and we need to win. Two or three wins in a row is what we need.
“It’s been a long time since West Ham won two or three games in a row, so this is a big chance for us because we’ve got two home games now, but it depends on us because we know every game is going to be tough, but our main mind is on Tuesday night.”
Reflecting on Saturday’s victory at Newcastle, Zabaleta was as pleased with West Ham’s second clean sheet in 14 Premier League matches as he was with the outstanding attacking display capped by two goals from Chicharito and one from Felipe Anderson.
“Overall, I think we were the better team. It was a great performance, we scored three goals and we kept the clean sheet, which was something we have been looking for in the last few games and had been talking about needing to improve defensively and be solid at the back,” he confirmed.
“I thought we did that on Saturday and were solid, then going forward the team was really dangerous and we scored three goals, but I think we could have scored at least two more if we’d been better in the final third.
“We just need to keep working. We are only on 15 points, so we need to keep progressing as a team. We still have got room for improvement but when you win, you get confidence and that’s all you need, when you’re in a period like December with seven games and you need every one.”
One player who will be crucial to the Irons’ chances of building on Saturday’s win will be Chicharito, who impressed Zabaleta with two typically predatory finishes at Newcastle.
“Chicharito will have had his confidence lifted by scoring two goals,” the right-back confirmed. “We know Chicha is a penalty box player and if you put the ball into the area he is always there in the right time in the right moment to score goals. The second one was a great finish.
“We played with two strikers on Saturday and that was good. I think everyone was very good individually and of course, when everyone plays well then we perform much better collectively.”