By 90Min
February 23, 2019

Manuel Pellegrini has admitted a feeling of relief that his West Ham side came away with all three points against Fulham on Friday night, after a disastrous start in their 3-1 win at the London Stadium.

Pablo Zabaleta's weak back-pass within 40 seconds of kickoff gave Ryan Babel the opportunity to open the scoring only to put his shot straight at Lukasz Fabianski – but the former Liverpool forward was on hand to fire home just two minutes later.

Catherine Ivill/GettyImages

Despite seeing his side mount a comeback thanks to goals from Javier Hernandez, Issa Diop and Michail Antonio, Pellegrini criticised his team for 'sleeping' in the opening ten minutes.

Speaking in his post-match press conference, the Chilean admitted (as quoted by the club's official website): "We started the game sleeping. The first ten minutes were unbelievable. They created clear chances, scored a goal and had another shot which was wide, but very dangerous.

“After those ten minutes, which were difficult to understand, I think we played a very good game. We scored three goals, we had three or four more chances, Fulham didn’t have any more clear chances in our box so it was a complete game without those first ten minutes.

“I don’t know the reason, maybe we were a little distracted at that moment. The important thing was that we changed the game after that.”

The biggest talking point of the game came when Hernandez's equalising goal for West Ham appeared to come off the Mexican striker's hand, but Pellegrini insisted that despite not seeing the incident, the controversy did not ultimately affect the outcome. 

He added: "From my position on the bench I couldn’t see [how Chicharito’s equaliser went in]. I’ve seen it since and it was handball, but it was one that nobody saw very clearly at the time. 

"I don’t think it decided the game, we scored two more and created three or four other chances which the goalkeeper saved well.”

You May Like