There was a noticeable improvement in West Ham’s performance level at the weekend against Everton and Pablo Zabaleta has pinpointed the reason why.
The defender, who was brought into the side for the trip to Goodison Park and reportedly was integral in engineering an improved level of workrate, has credited an increase in intensity for the result.
He also believes that holds the key – along with belief – to ending Chelsea’s 100 per cent record on Sunday.
What did Zaba say?
Zaba told the club’s official website: “It was crucial to get three points to lift the confidence of the lads a little bit. It was a great performance from the whole team, defensively and offensively, and I’m so happy with it.
“We improved the intensity. Everyone worked so hard for the 95 minutes and that is what you need, especially in this league. You need to give everything, 100%, every single game, with everyone working hard for each other.
“You need concentration on all the corners, free-kicks, set plays, especially as this ground is a difficult one to get a result at. We did it on Sunday and now we have some tough games coming up, so that’s why it was so important to win at Everton.
“If we continue like this, we have the chance for this victory to be the beginning of something big this season. You always need to be positive and think you can win games when you play against the top teams. We need to believe we can get something against Chelsea.
“We will work hard this week to make sure we are prepared for the game. They have a lot of quality and are playing really well, but if we play with the same intensity and same concentration as Sunday, who knows? Especially at home, with the fans behind the team, we’ll see.”
Intensity holds the key to Chelsea win
The most notable difference in Chelsea under Maurizio Sarri is their intensity. They press high and relentlessly; Zabaleta is absolutely right to feel that matching that is the only way to beat them.
Sunday’s result will have boosted confidence no end, also. Five straight defeats before facing a team with five straight wins would have made it hard to believe the Hammers could get the win. That’s all changed now.