Sunday 05 Jan
Updated Sunday 05 Jan 23:55
West Ham Tv

Goalscorer Zabaleta delighted with professional cup display


Pablo Zabaleta hailed the professional nature of West Ham United's performance after his first goal in Claret & Blue helped fire them past Gillingham in the FA Cup third round on Sunday.

Zabaleta's inaugural Hammers strike came in his 75th appearance for the club, so he was thrilled to end that wait - and more importantly that his team had secured their place in the fourth round.

They were pushed all the way by the League One Gills and it took until the 74th minute for the Argentinean's strike to break the deadlock, before his namesake Fornals wrapped it up late on.

Zabaleta knows how it feels to lift this cup, so he would love nothing more than for the Hammers to have a shot at doing the same this season.

"It's my first goal in a West Ham shirt, which is something special," the No5 said. "It took me two years, but it was a great performance by the whole team.

"I had the chance to win this competition with Manchester City, and I know it's very special. We haven't been great in the FA Cup in the last few seasons, but today was a good performance and we played with the respect that this competition deserves.

"We're taking the FA Cup seriously, we have a great squad, great players, so I'm pleased for the team today."


Declan Rice applauds the Hammers support at Gillingham


Zabaleta's thoughts were echoed by Declan Rice, who felt the Hammers were set up well to counter the threat that Gillingham possessed on their home turf.

"It was a really professional performance," Rice said. "We looked at them before the game and knew exactly what they would throw at us.

"They treat throw-ins as corner kicks and we went three at the back tonight. The boys at the back, with Zaba and Arthur, all defended really well.

"It was a professional performance - the old West Ham might have come here and lost that game last season, and we've got a couple of cuts and bruises but we're into the next round and that's good."