Ben Johnson says West Ham United were yet again made to bemoan missed opportunities in Wednesday’s Carabao Cup exit.
The Irons were defeated by Blackburn Rovers 10-9 on penalties at London Stadium after a 2-2 draw in normal time. Goals from Pablo Fornals and Michail Antonio had the Hammers looking towards the fourth round, after Jack Vale’s early opener had initially pegged them back, but Ben Brereton Diaz took the match to spot-kicks with a well-struck equaliser on 88 minutes.
After 19 successful penalties Angelo Ogbonna’s effort rebounded off the crossbar to send Rovers through at West Ham’s expense.
“We’ve not got the good fortune as we did in the last season,” Johnson told West Ham TV. “Games and decisions are going against us and it’s difficult to take. But, of course, we’ve got to move on and continue to the next game. Hopefully we can go into the next game, win that, and give everything in it.
“I think, in parts in the first half, we played well. We started off sloppy and they scored a goal and had a few chances, but we played some good football in the first half and had some openings.
“The second half, we looked so dangerous from set pieces and from getting in behind. Michail was a nuisance and got his goal, and we thought the game would be wrapped up. It’s just one of those things. The last couple of games, we’ve been punished in the critical moments.
"Going into the end of the game is always on a knife-edge and we thought we did enough, but unfortunately we conceded late on.”
Similar to a number of other occasions earlier this season, the Irons saw goalscoring chances missed in Wednesday’s tie and Johnson conceded the Irons need to see those opportunities find the net more regularly in order to find winning form.
“When we go on the pitch, we’re getting more chances and we’re threatening. Our xG (Expected Goals) has been high this year, but it’s just not happened for us and I don’t know why. Our attackers are looking in some good form. They’re gelling and they’re looking a threat in every game.
“There have been so many games this season where we should have got something and we haven’t. It’s one of them where we need to keep going and keep working.
“We’re not going into any game to lose or to play poor. There are instances in games where we start off slow and then we find our rhythm, and tonight was a prime example.
“We had so many chances but, if you don’t take your chances then you’re not going to get the points you deserve. We’ve not been taking our chances but we have been unfortunate in a lot of the games, as we were tonight.”
With a final match to play before domestic football pauses for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Johnson said all focus is now on performing on Saturday against Leicester City in the Premier League.
He concluded: “Leicester City is a huge game. Leicester are in good form but we know what we can do. We’ve got some fantastic players and a great squad. We’re just trying to make it work at the minute and we’ve just been unfortunate.
“Hopefully we can just go into the game with clear heads, clear minds, and just go out there and get the win and give the fans a good send-off going into the World Cup.”