Pellegrini upbeat about West Ham’s display despite defeat at Wolves

By Nick Mashiter, PA

Under-pressure Manuel Pellegrini denied West Ham had taken a step backwards after slipping to defeat at Wolves.

Leander Dendoncker and Patrick Cutrone struck to earn the hosts a 2-0 win and condemned the Hammers to a sixth defeat in nine Premier League games.

They sit 13th, two points above the relegation zone after failing to build on the weekend’s surprise 1-0 win at Chelsea, but Pellegrini refused to be downbeat.

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He said: “No, I feel playing at Chelsea and Wolves away – maybe if you draw both games you are happy but we have three points now and not two.

“Of course we wanted to win two games in a row, we couldn’t but I think it’s more important to win our home games.

“I was happy with the attitude of the team, we dominated a lot of the game – especially in the second half.”

Robert Snodgrass wasted the Hammers’ best chance after the break when he failed to control Pablo Fornals’ ball over the top with just Rui Patricio to beat.

But after conceding Dendoncker’s opener from a first-half corner Pellegrini lamented the Hammers’ defensive errors.

“The big mistake was we conceded again from a set piece,” he said. “It was a very tight game in the first 45 minutes.

“We have lost too many games just by set pieces, we have conceded at least eight or 10 goals.

“I thought we dominated most of the second half and we had one option to draw but we missed that and in one counter attack they found the space for the second goal.”

Wolves returned to fifth despite playing their 28th game of the season.

Nuno Espirito Santo had labelled their December schedule – where they play eight games – absurd but his side continue to make light of their workload.

They are unbeaten in 10 top flight games for the first time since 1972 after Dendoncker’s strike and Cutrone’s late second.

Nuno said: “Tomorrow (Thursday) they have a day off after 21 days without one. They know the main point is to rest and recover. It’s a very long season.

“It was a good performance, we are organised, we managed the game well, we didn’t concede chances and I’m very happy with the hard work for the boys.

“We chose to be this way, with a small squad. We need all the help we can get.”

Cutrone’s late goal was just his second in the top flight after a £16million summer move from AC Milan and the striker was emotional after scoring.

Nuno added: “He was happy, everyone was happy, it was very important for us to score in that moment to avoid the last-minute situations which could happen. It’s not patience, it’s commitment.”

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