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Experienced West Ham defender left frustrated by Watford loss

PUBLISHED: 17:38 24 December 2018 | UPDATED: 17:38 24 December 2018

Pablo Zabaleta wins a header against Watford

Pablo Zabaleta wins a header against Watford

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West Ham's Pablo ZabaletaWest Ham's Pablo Zabaleta

West Ham defender Pablo Zabaleta got used to winning game after game during his time at Manchester City.

When they lost, as they did on Saturday, it was a huge thing, and though West Ham ending their run of wins on Saturday was nowhere near as much of a shock, it still left him frustrated.

“Yes, it is frustrating,” admitted the 33-year-old.

“A defeat is always difficult and after four wins, we were looking for number five.

Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha (left) gestures at West Ham United's Pablo Zabaleta (right) as West Ham United's Mark Noble (second right) intervenes during the Premier League match at The London Stadium, London.Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha (left) gestures at West Ham United's Pablo Zabaleta (right) as West Ham United's Mark Noble (second right) intervenes during the Premier League match at The London Stadium, London.

“It was tough game, they are a very good team and we knew it was going to be hard.”

Zabaleta certainly had a tough battle with Jose Holebas on his flank, while he was quick to pinpoint the reasons for the 2-0 home defeat.

“We didn’t take our chances,” he said. “In the second half when we were pushing them, we missed a couple of good chances to get back into the game, but we couldn’t and their second goal finished the match.

“The difference in the last few games was that we were so clinical in front of goal. But today we couldn’t score goals and we couldn’t keep a clean sheet as well.”

It was the end of a fine run of wins for the Hammers, but with a manager like Manuel Pellegini and experienced defenders like Zabaleta, they know how to respond.

“We know we are not going to win every single game, though that is what we wanted,” he smiled. “But sometimes you have to give credit to the other team. It wasn’t our best performance, but sometimes you do need a bit of luck at certain moments.

“If we scored and got a point it would have been good, but it was not our afternoon, though the confidence is still there.”

They certainly carved out some chances, twice hitting the woodwork as well as testing Ben Foster in the Watford goal on more than one occasion.

But, as Zabaleta suggested, luck was not on their side, though it is fair to say that the Hornets deserved their win in the end.

West Ham sit in mid-table going into Christmas and Zabaleta feels that the team can build on that.

“We are still in a good position, everything is so tight in the middle of the table,” he said.

“You win one and you can go sixth or seventh, but if you lose, you can drop to 12th.

“It is the Premier League and it is the most competitive league, but hopefully we can pick ourselves up in the next game.”

Zabaleta was rested for the Cardiff City game, so with so many fixtures coming up, is he expecting the same again?

“You always want to be involved in every game, but when you have so many games, sometimes the manager decides he needs to make a few changes and that is his job,” he said.

“If I play I will try to give my best for the team – if I am rested that is no problem.”

With injuries increasing by the day, Zabaleta may well have to stay in the team. If that is the case, he is unlikely to let anybody down.

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