Pablo Zabaleta has hailed the Impact of ‘true professional’ Chicharito after the Mexican scored West Ham United’s equaliser in the 1-1 draw with Bournemouth.
Chicharito came off the bench in the 64th minute of Saturday’s contest with the Cherries and would net the Hammers’ goal less than ten minutes later, slotting home after some excellent interplay with Marko Arnautovic.
The finish came 64 seconds after Bournemouth had taken the lead, thanks to a Ryan Fraser effort at the near post, marking Chicharito’s fifth goal of the season for the Irons.
And Zabaleta has praised the 29-year-old’s work rate and focus during training, saying the attacker did exactly what he needed to do after entering the fray.
Chicharito is a true professional...He came on and made a big impact in the game. It was a great finish.
“Chicharito is a true professional,” Zabaleta said after the match. “Even though he’s not played as much as he would like recently he’s kept training well and he’s remained focused. He’s been a great professional.
“This is what you need from substitutes. He came on and made a big impact in the game and he scored today. It was a great finish from Chicharito.”
The defender also had kind words for Manuel Lanzini, who put in a strong performance before exiting the field with what looked to be an injury.
On his fellow Argentinian, he added: Hopefully, it’s not too bad. We need to wait for the scan. Manuel is one of the most important players for our team and he played 120 minutes on Tuesday. Players like him make so many sprints during the game.”
Zabaleta was delighted with how his side began Saturday’s contest but admits he and his teammates were suffering from fatigue as the game came to a close.
“I thought we were really good for the first half an hour of the game,” he continued. “We were really intense and we created a few chances. We couldn’t score and the second half was similar for about 20 minutes, but then the rest we looked a bit tired.”
“I thought we put so much effort in during the game and some of the players played 120 minutes in midweek. Apart from this it was a good game. Both teams had chances. A point is a point and sometimes, when you can’t win, you have to try to get something.”