Zabaleta: Pellegrini has instilled personality in the Hammers

Pablo Zabaleta on the cover of the Tottenham Hotspur programme


Pablo Zabaleta says West Ham United are adapting to Manuel Pellegrini’s demand to ‘play with personality’ ahead of Saturday’s Premier League derby with Tottenham Hotspur.

The Argentinian knows his manager’s philosophy well, having benefited from it during Pellegrini’s three trophy-filled seasons at Manchester City.

The right-back believes the Hammers’ recent improvement is the result of the squad embracing the Chilean’s edict that they play with confidence and belief that they can beat any opponent.

The manager is trying to get us to play the same way every single game and for this you need personality

Pablo Zabaleta

“First, you need personality to play in the same way, whether you are at home or away, against any opponent,” Zabaleta told the Official Programme. “Just because we are playing against a top side, we will not sit back and defend, or if we’re playing away, we try to score goals only on the counter attack.

“The manager is trying to get us to play the same way every single game and for this you need personality from the players and the desire, determination and belief to go into every single game and play the way they want to play.”

Zabaleta and company will get their next opportunity to put Pellegrini’s plans into action at London Stadium on Saturday, when they host a Tottenham team managed by his former Espanyol teammate Mauricio Pochettino.

The No5 has not been surprised by the impact his compatriot has made in north London, but while he will likely exchange a warm handshake with Pochettino before kick-off, friend will become foe when the game gets underway.

“It’s a massive game,” Zabaleta confirmed. “We are playing at home and we cannot have two defeats in a row, so this is a good opportunity for us to react and perform well like we did in the last three games at home in league and cup.

“We need to get back to our best and get the three points.”

Order your Official Programme now!

To read Zabaleta’s full interview and much, much more exclusive content, download or purchase Saturday’s 100-page Official Programme.

The print edition will be available to buy in and around the London Stadium on matchday and can be ordered online here.

The Digital Official Programme is available to download to your iPad or iPhone, Android devices, PC and Mac and via the Pocketmags app on kindle fire and Blackberry Playbook from 9am on matchday.

Whether you live overseas or just want to consume your content on the way to London Stadium, that means you can download your Digital Programme before kick-off, with the game being televised live in a large number of countries across the world.