Zabaleta: Beating teams around us key to securing top-ten finish
Pablo Zabaleta says beating the teams around them in the table will be vital to West Ham United’s hopes of securing a top-ten Premier League finish this season.
The Hammers will climb into the top half of the table for the first time in 2017/18 by beating Crystal Palace at London Stadium on Tuesday evening.
West Ham have lost just one of their last six matches against teams in the bottom half of the table, including wins over Stoke City, West Bromwich Albion and Huddersfield Town, and the Argentinian says they need to maintain that run of form against the Eagles.
There have been some improvements in the team recently and we want to keep that momentum going in the next few games
“We are playing against teams around us and we need to make sure we win all of them and move further away from the relegation zone, because after that we are going to play against the best teams in the league,” he observed, pointing to fixtures against Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City among the final eleven games of the season.
“If we can win the next two or three games, that would be massive for us. Everything is so tight at the bottom of the table, so you need to keep winning games so as not to be involved in the relegation battle at the end of the season.
“Palace will be crucial, so we need to take things game by game. We missed the chance to beat Bournemouth at home, but we took one point and now we need to take three against Palace.
“It’s good at the moment, but not brilliant because we’re only six points from the relegation zone and there’s a long way to go and nothing is done. It’s true that there have been some improvements in the team recently and we want to keep that momentum going in the next few games.”
Zabaleta has been used to fighting for the title, rather than against relegation, during his previous nine seasons with Manchester City.
But the 33-year-old, who has started all but one of West Ham’s 23 Premier League matches since completing his summer move down to east London, is relishing the ‘different type of pressure’ he is playing under in a Claret and Blue shirt.
“In the Premier League, everything is so tight and so competitive between the last ten or eleven teams, so that’s good. I’m enjoying it! It’s a different challenge, but I’m here to do my best.
“It’s a different type of pressure than I’ve been used to, but in the Premier League every single team you play against can beat you. You have to win games because you want to keep the team in the Premier League.
“Hopefully we can finish on a high and play some good football. At the moment, I think David Moyes is doing a great job and hopefully we can finish in the top ten. That would be great for this Club this season.”