Saturday 22 Dec
Updated Saturday 22 Dec 20:38
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Pellegrini: We had the opportunities to get at least a draw

 

Manuel Pellegrini felt his West Ham United team could have got at least a draw from Saturday’s 2-0 Premier League defeat by Watford, had they been more clinical.

The Hammers’ four-match winning run was ended at London Stadium by a Hornets team who took their chances where their hosts did not.

A first half penalty converted by Troy Deeney also saw Fabian Balbuena injure his left knee, before Michail Antonio twice hit the woodwork and Chicharito missed a pair of presentable opportunities.

And the Irons’ frustration was complete when Gerard Deulofeu fired home with three minutes remaining to condemn Pellegrini’s side to their first defeat in five matches.

After they scored they were more calm, we were more nervous and we missed a couple of options to score and finally they scored that goal at the end

Manuel Pellegrini

“I think we deserved a little bit more, at least to draw the game, as we had too many options,” the managed observed. “We played most of the game one goal behind and it is always more difficult for the team to play under pressure and it’s easier for Watford [once they are in front].

“They are a very good team and they played a good game and when you are winning 1-0 you have more time to prepare the actions in the last third. We hit the post twice and had two or three clear options to draw this game.

“Maybe we felt the pressure losing 1-0 at the beginning of the game, but there are so many things in football that can happen and be why you don’t score. In the last game [at Fulham] we had two chances and we scored two but today we couldn’t score one.”

After a fairly even opening half-hour, Watford went ahead when Balbuena brought down Roberto Pereyra and Deeney emphatically beat Lukasz Fabianski from the penalty spot.

Pellegrini felt the goal changed the pattern of the game markedly in favour of Javi Gracia's team.

“From that moment, it gave Watford impetus and, at the same time, it stopped our attacking system a little bit. Before the goal we had three dangerous crosses into their box and also a shot from Antonio which was saved by their goalkeeper [Ben Foster].

“We were dominating the game, at least in the boxes, where we had more options. After they scored they were more calm, we were more nervous and we missed a couple of options to score and finally they scored that goal at the end.”

 

Chicharito missed two chances before being forced off with an injury
Chicharito missed two chances before being forced off with an injury

 

Pellegrini said West Ham will assess injuries suffered by Balbuena and Chicharito, who was replaced by Grady Diangana late on, on Sunday, before deciding whether they will be involved in Southampton on 27 December.

The Saints have won two in a row themselves under new manager Ralph Hasenhuttl, but the manager says the Hammers will go to St Mary’s Stadium determined to make up for Saturday’s defeat.

“First, we have 24 points and we will try to add some more against Southampton,” he confirmed. “If you asked me what I thought if we could have 27 at that point of the season, I would be happy so I hope that we can recover the points we lost today at Southampton on Thursday.”