West Ham United boss Manuel Pellegrini praised his side for advancing past AFC Wimbledon in the Carabao Cup second round.
A second round tie against the Dons should have been a formality for Pellegrini’s Hammers. Joe Pigott’s goal in the second minute, gave the many travelling Iron fans a nervy Tuesday night at Kingsmeadow.
Rod McDonald being shown a red card early in the first half, should have eased the frustration but the stubborn League One side showed great resilience and character, as the Chilean boss acknowledges.
He said:“[It’s difficult] when you play against teams who defend very well and are so strong aerially, and when you go 1-0 behind in the first minute of the game to the first corner, when you work all week not to suffer those kinds of goals.”
Performance of a team improving
Pellegrini went on to praise his side and their mental strength and calmness on a difficult cup night. The Chilean continued: “But after that the most important thing was our dedication to win this game, and I was sure that if we continued playing [in that way] we would score the goal.”
The former Carabao Cup winner with Manchester City, he went on further to praise his new side. He said: “That was the best thing about the performance tonight, that we kept calm.”
Relentless pressure by the Irons finally paid off with Issa Diop's fantastic 25-yard strike. Pellegrini applauded his side's professionalism, He said: “We didn’t score the goal [until the 63rd minute], but we kept calm, we kept moving, we tried to create space and eventually we scored the goals that we needed to win the game.”
Air of confidence running through the side
Angelo Ogbonna and Javier Chicharito Hernandez got the job done late on in the game, getting a perfect win for the East London side, the Chilean boss finished his by highlighting the Hammers' first victory of the campaign. He said: “It’s important to win, for the trust of the team. We need to continue working in this way. We are improving and I hope that on Saturday we can get our first win in the Premier League.”