Reaction – Pellegrini satisfied with resilient Hammers after win at Watford

MANUEL PELLEGRINI was delighted with several aspects from his West Ham United team after overseeing a ruthless, professional display to dispatch Watford at Vicarage Road.

Mark Noble’s early penalty handed the Hammers an advantage. And despite conceding Andre Gray’s leveller, then withstanding a Watford barrage, Sebastien Haller’s second-half brace confirmed the east Londoners first victory of the campaign. 

“Yes, first I’m pleased for the game. I think that football fans, they saw a good game with two teams that play in an open way,” the Chilean explained. 

“We were trying to continue being an attacking team in every ball that we had and also Watford, I think that we drew 1-1, the first forty-five minutes, but they had two or three clear options and we had one.

The  Hammers chief continued: “So for the fans, it was a very good game. I think that Watford may be in a moment – An unfortunate moment because I saw the game against Everton and they didn’t deserve to lose the game. And against Brighton, it was not a difference between the two teams and today was also a very close and tight game.

“I’m very pleased with the score, of course, because we finished last season winning here 4-1. And now we start our first game away winning also in a moment we were trying to rebuild the team – a lot of players coming in from long injuries and new players. And one of those new players scored two goals and will be very useful for him.

“It’s a new league for him. It’s never easy to play here in the Premier League at the beginning and these two goals will give him a lot of trusts.”

Pellegrini heaped praise on the skipper, Mark Noble, who celebrated 15 years at the club with the opening goal from the spot: “Yes, a very good way because as I said, I talked about the last game here last season – he played very well, he scored twice. Now he scored again a goal.

“He played the 90 minutes. I was not sure if he was going to be able to because he didn’t work too much during the pre-season. 

“As you say, he celebrated 15 years in West Ham. He’s part of this club – he’s the captain also – but is one of the players that must be always thinking and feeling the desire to grow with this club, having so many fans behind them.”

Pellegrini was also quick to point out the impact made by substitute, Michail Antonio: “I think that Antonio – when he came in, he changed the game. Normally, when you have a substitute it can go different ways. You can go in and think you can change the game or not happy because you are not playing so many minutes. 

“I think that Antonio had a first-rate attitude and he changed the game with his performance.” 

Overall, the West Ham boss believed his side were playing the right way. However, he was aware of room for improvement.

“Yes, because they have some characteristics that you can’t change. Felipe is a fast player, Lanzini is a fast player, but I think we must be a little calm in the last third to make more accurate finishes, accurate passes because in a moment we can decide this game – we can do it.”


Brian Jeeves