Westley backs young Hammers to learn from experience of Chelsea reverse
Academy Director Terry Westley said fine margins were the difference between victory and defeat in West Ham United’s 1-0 Premier League 2 Division 1 loss to Chelsea.
The Hammers created enough chances to defeat their opponents at Chigwell Construction Stadium, only for a combination of profligate finishing, fine goalkeeping from Blues goalkeeper Marcin Bulka and an error from home stopper Nathan Trott to see them end an exciting 90 minutes on the losing side.
“You don’t always get what you deserve and this was definitely one of those occasions,” he said. “We had a 60/40 advantage in possession and many more penalty area entries and shots than Chelsea, but you’ve got to make one of those opportunities count and we didn’t quite do that.
“I thought, in Marcus Browne, we had the best player on the pitch, which is always important when you’re playing against a top team like Chelsea, because you want to compare players.
“We were a younger team than them, with Ben Johnson, Domingos Quina and Conor Coventry all still Under-18 players, so we acquitted ourselves well, but I’m a little bit disappointed we didn’t get a point or all three, because I thought we were the better side.”
Nathan came back and showed he can run past you and there are very few out and out wingers who can go down the outside like he does
Westley backed his players to learn from the experience, while also finding time to praise the performances of captain Marcus Browne and fellow attacking midfielder Nathan Holland, who returned to action after four months out with a hamstring injury.
“Making Marcus captain has helped him, trying to instil in him a responsibility to help the team, on and off the pitch, and he’s taken over that mantel from Moses Makasi [who is out on loan] very well.
“He can drive up the pitch, with or without the ball, and there are not many players like that any longer. There are a lot of neat and tidy footballers, but not many who can run and drive with the ball, and in the first half, in particular, you had Browne, Holland and Grady Diangana on the counter attack when it turned over, and our pace was too much for them. We didn’t make the best of those opportunities, but Marcus really led the team properly and I’m really pleased with him.
“Nathan has worked really hard with the physios and rehab department, and Josh Pask the same, as both had similar types of injuries and were out for a while. Nathan came back and showed he can run past you and there are very few out and out wingers who can go down the outside like he does. He, Marcus and Grady caught the eye in the first half on the attacking front.”
One player who also caught the eye was England U20 goalkeeper Trott, who made a succession of fine saves, only for Chelsea’s winner to come from his miss-hit goal kick. Again, Westley backed the youngster to bounce back.
“Nathan made some unbelievable saves, but unfortunately it just shows you what that job is like. If you make an error, which he did, it cost us a goal and ultimately cost us the match.
“Overall, he’d be thinking ‘I made some unbelievable saves’ but that’s the learning curve and if you go to the next level, to first-team level, those are the sort of mistakes you need to be cutting out.”