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West Ham ease pressure on Pellegrini with win at Southampton

The Hammers are now four points clear of the drop zone.

West Ham players celebrate.
West Ham players celebrate.
Image: Steven Paston

SEBASTIEN HALLER SCORED the only goal as West Ham eased the pressure on manager Manuel Pellegrini with a 1-0 win away to fellow relegation candidates Southampton.

West Ham had won only one of their last 11 games in all competitions but now sit four points clear of the drop zone while their hosts stay in 18th, level on points with Aston Villa a place above but with an inferior goal difference.

The Hammers also had a strong penalty appeal turned down by VAR, and thought they had doubled their lead through Michail Antonio only to see his goal ruled out for handball following a review.

Danny Ings also hit the woodwork twice – albeit once while the offside flag was raised – and he then had a goal ruled out for a foul by Moussa Djenepo.

Pellegrini admitted post-game that he had felt the pressure to get a result amid reports that he might have lost his job had his side lost at St Mary’s, but stressed his hope that the East London club have now turned the corner.

“I don’t read the media but I am not stupid,” he told BBC Sport. “If you don’t get results, if you have five points from 30, you’re in a difficult moment.

“For West Ham it was an important three points.

“I said before the game that I felt every day the commitment of the players in the work that they do. I am happy for the players. We started the season very well and I hope now we have recovered our best performance for the next games.”

southampton-v-west-ham-united-premier-league-st-marys-stadium Relief at the final whistle for Manuel Pellegrini. Source: Steven Paston

Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl, meanwhile, will likely face similar scrutiny after a relatively poor showing by his struggling side.

“To stay in the league we need to win these home games against these type of opponents,” said the German.

“We know we have a difficult situation but we have seen a team fighting for three points but today we were not good enough.

“We knew it would be a very tough game for us. In the first half, we had big problems with the long balls. We changed it at half-time and in the second half I thought we had the better chances.

“I saw a team fighting until the end and fighting to turn the tables but it was not possible for us. We need to fight more and try to win more.”

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