The Hammers secured an important away win against Chelsea at the Stamford Bridge, giving a new lease of life to Manuel Pellegrini’s reign.
If you forget West Ham’s performance against Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham, a derby is always tightly contended. It is for the fans, their bragging rights, and discussions in pubs and television lounges. And the real Hammers showed up against Chelsea.
In stark contrast to the team that went out at the London Stadium last week, at the Stamford Bridge a resilient West Ham squad took the field. They were energetic, matched the Blues across the ground and were lucky not to concede.
Chelsea were without Tammy Abraham but should have gone ahead. So should have West Ham, but in the end it was a Aaron Cresswell goal that separated the two sides in the end.
It was David Martin who encapsulated West Ham’s spirited performance. The 33 year old made his English Premier League debut and managed to defy expectations as well as the hosts, to keep a clean sheet.
End of winless run
Win against Lampard’s charges puts an end to their winless run that stretched back to September. The three points will surely add a new lease of life for Manuel Pellegrini’s reign at London Stadium.
The Chilean tactician had failed to end their poor run of form and the loss of confidence was visible in their recent outings. Against Tottenham only Michail Antonio showed any spirit, and his confidence seems to have spread across the dressing room.
During these months of turmoil, Pellegrini stayed true to his tactics and win against Chelsea will surely redeem him. The tactician admitted he had a tough task to convince his players but was glad his gambit paid off in the end.
“For me the most difficult thing during this week was not worried about my job or the future, I was worried to try to convince the players not to change their style, and telling them that we weren’t doing everything wrong. In football one or two goals can decide the result and playing one or two goals behind,” Pellegrini commented after the game.
“But today we were consistent and solid throughout the whole game. But we didn’t come here to try to draw. From the first minute we tried to compete all the way that’s the way that this team must play.”
The Hammers have a tough couple of fixtures ahead. Pellegrini will take his players on the to pit his wits against Nuno Espirito Santo at Molineux Stadium. Before welcoming Arsenal for their third London derby in four games.
Win against Chelsea has restored confidence in the West Ham dressing room, but with the sack season in full flow, Pellegrini cannot take anything for granted.