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West Ham crash to embarrassing defeat at lowly Cardiff

PUBLISHED: 12:32 11 March 2019 | UPDATED: 12:32 11 March 2019

West Ham United manager Manuel Pellegrini during the Premier League match at the Cardiff City Stadium.

West Ham United manager Manuel Pellegrini during the Premier League match at the Cardiff City Stadium.

PA Wire/PA Images

Complacency strikes again as Pellegrini is left angered by his team

Cardiff City's Sean Morrison collides with his team-mate goalkeeper Neil Etheridge under pressure from West Ham United's Javier Hernandez during the Premier League match at the Cardiff City Stadium.Cardiff City's Sean Morrison collides with his team-mate goalkeeper Neil Etheridge under pressure from West Ham United's Javier Hernandez during the Premier League match at the Cardiff City Stadium.

It was only on Thursday that manager Manuel Pellegrini made a big statement about complacency in his team.

“It is my duty to convince the players that the position of Cardiff will make it a more difficult game and not an easy game.”

Between then and 3pm on Saturday that advice must have been forgotten because although they should have known it, West Ham seemed shocked by the fact that Cardiff City started like an express train.

Third bottom and battling for points and playing at home, who could possibly know that they were up for it?

West Ham United's Declan Rice (centre) and Cardiff City's Josh Murphy (left) battle for the ball during the Premier League match at the Cardiff City Stadium.West Ham United's Declan Rice (centre) and Cardiff City's Josh Murphy (left) battle for the ball during the Premier League match at the Cardiff City Stadium.

Perhaps we should have guessed it would happen. Remember Brighton, Burnley, Bournemouth away and now this one? All winnable games where West Ham simply did not turn up.

This one was not quite as bad as those others. At least West Ham showed a little more attacking prowess after both goals had been scored.

But in truth, West Ham’s day was summed up by the embarrassing, cynical dive in the box by Javier Hernandez in the first half for which he was rightly yellow-carded.

Pellegrini, unsurprisingly, was not a happy man afterwards.

Cardiff City's Victor Camarasa scores his side's second goal of the game during the Premier League match at the Cardiff City Stadium.Cardiff City's Victor Camarasa scores his side's second goal of the game during the Premier League match at the Cardiff City Stadium.

“First of all we knew before the game it would be a difficult game because Cardiff need points., they are at home and a team fighting against relegation,” he slammed.

“It was more than a disappointing result, it was a disappointing performance,” he continued. “We must review what we are doing when we are playing away because in four of the last five away games we didn’t score one goal and we conceded too many.”

It was a disastrous start as within four minutes, just as against Fulham a couple of weeks, West Ham’s defence were still asleep, forgot to pick up their men and allowed Junior Hoilett to score at the near post.

West Ham seemed hurried by every pass, they kept losing it and Cardiff could have scored a couple more in that first half.

Within five minutes of the restart they did make it 2-0 when Victor Camarasa bundled the ball in from close range after Joshua Murphy had nodded down unmarked.

West Ham did have their moments after that. Declan Rice hit the post, sub Marko Arnautovic had an effort well saved, but they could not make a breakthrough.

One goal back and Cardiff could have become jittery, but at 2-0 they were comfortable and played the game out with ease.

“Maybe if we had scored and made it 2-1 with 15 or 20 minutes to play they could have become nervous, but I think we must try to play better before that,” he concluded.

True enough, but there is something about these players when it comes to games against lowly teams that seems to leave them floundering.

West Ham had fielded the same team that has beaten Newcastle so comfortably the week before.

That day they had started well and the game was wrapped up half time.

That is what should have happened in Wales on Saturday.

Keep them quiet for the first 20 minutes and then, when the crowd are getting restless – strike.

Perhaps they think they just have to turn up, perhaps they think it is all too easy for them.

Whatever it is, this is not good enough and is almost certainly the reason they are not going to qualify for Europe this term.

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