Manuel Pellegrini said West Ham United could take great pleasure from their performance at Manchester United on Saturday, even if the result did not go their way.
The Hammers caused their hosts problems throughout at Old Trafford, levelling Paul Pogba’s debatable first penalty with Felipe Anderson’s far post finish.
Michail Antonio then struck the crossbar and forced a first class stop from David de Gea with a downward header when the score was 1-1, only for a second Pogba spot kick to settle it ten minutes from time.
Pellegrini felt aggrieved by decisions over both penalties - and a disallowed goal for Felipe Anderson early in the piece - but refused to lay the blame at the referee’s door.
He explained: “It’s hard to say how we’ve come away from here not only with a point, but all three.
“For me it was a pleasure to see the way the team played here, against Manchester United at Old Trafford,
“It was a very good performance and we were unfortunate [not to get a result].
“I don’t want to complain about the referee because all of them were very difficult decisions.
“Our goal [in the first half] was onside, by just one [player’s] foot, so that’s why the mistake was made. If we have VAR it’s a goal.
“The second goal they scored was a mistake from us, but it was also offside. Rashford touches the ball, so it’s offside.
“We also made a mistake for that goal and I’m not complaining that we lost because of the referee. The three of them were very difficult decisions. It was not possible to see, but with VAR we win this game.”
Of Antonio’s late opportunities, Pellegrini felt the No30 was very unlucky not to score either of them.
He added: “That’s why you need a bit of luck to win the game. Antonio did very well for both chances - he hit the crossbar and the other was a really good save.
“It’s more difficult [to get to seventh now], but I repeat my target is to finish as high as we can and we are going to fight until the last game for that.”