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West Ham defender still learning from first Premier League season

PUBLISHED: 12:43 10 April 2019 | UPDATED: 12:43 10 April 2019

West Ham United's Ryan Fredericks (left) and Chelsea's Emerson Palmieri battle for the ball

West Ham United's Ryan Fredericks (left) and Chelsea's Emerson Palmieri battle for the ball

PA Archive/PA Images

Fredericks full of praise for coach Pellegrini

West Ham United's English defender Ryan Fredericks strikes Chelsea's Belgian midfielder Eden HazardWest Ham United's English defender Ryan Fredericks strikes Chelsea's Belgian midfielder Eden Hazard

Such has been the stop-start nature of Ryan Fredericks in his first year in the Premier League, his appearance at Stamford Bridge on Monday night was only his ninth start and 11th outing this term.

And it was certainly a baptism of fire for the 26-year-old right-back in the first half as Chelsea ran the roost.

“I think in the first half we let them take the game to us,” admitted the former Fulham defender.

“We sat back and didn’t do our stuff, but we have some quality players in our changing room.”

West Ham United's Ryan Fredericks looks onWest Ham United's Ryan Fredericks looks on

Boss Manuel Pellegrini read them the riot act at the break and it did the trick.

“When we got in at half time the gaffer told us what we needed to do,” said Fredericks.

“We needed to take the game to them and show them what we can do on the ball, pass it well and we did that.

“We made a few chances and on another day we could have got a goal.”

West Ham United's Angelo Ogbonna (top) and Chelsea's Eden Hazard battle for the ball during the Premier League match at Stamford Bridge, London.West Ham United's Angelo Ogbonna (top) and Chelsea's Eden Hazard battle for the ball during the Premier League match at Stamford Bridge, London.

Chelsea’s star man Eden Hazard proved the difference between the teams and Fredericks was full of praise for the Belgian.

“It was a pretty special first goal,” admitted the defender, who came closest to stopping him.

“He picks up the ball in positions that aren’t really dangerous at all. He was in the middle of the pitch, but after he skips past two he is tough to stop.

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“He is one of the hardest to play against. He is different. He doesn’t really stand up against you and go one-v-one like other players.

“But the positions he picks up makes him the best player in the league for me.

West Ham fans sang that the Belgium international is off to Madrid in the summer, something that would certainly please Fredericks.

“I would be one of the defenders pleased to see the back of him,” he laughed. “I would much rather watch him on a Saturday night in whatever league he is playing and I think every defender will be thinking the same as me.”

Fredericks played the full 90 minutes and will now be looking for a run of games before the end of the campaign.

“I thought I did okay,” he said. “Obviously the main thing is not about me, it is about the team, so I would have preferred to get a draw at least.

“But I’ve had a pretty stop-start season. It seems as soon as I make a step forward, I have to take a step back.

“It is my first year in the Premier League and I am learning with every game. I am under a great manager and that has really helped me to improve as a player.”

He will look to do that again on Saturday evening when West Ham make the trip to Old Trafford and with Pablo Zabaleta’s future still up in the air, he will look to secure that right-back place for himself.

“It is another tough game of course,” he said.

“We took three points off them at home, so we know we are capable of doing something.

“If we can play like we did in the second half against Chelsea, then we can certainly get something out of the game.”

True, but if they play like they did in the first half at Chelsea, they won’t have a hope.

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