Pablo Zabaleta thriving in new role


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West Ham defender Pablo Zabaleta insists he was happy to be deployed in a wing-back role in Monday’s crucial victory against Huddersfield.

The Hammers, who are priced at 6.00 to be relegated, played at home for the first time this season on Monday amid reports Slaven Bilic’s future was in doubt after his side lost their first three Premier League games.

Bilic opted to switch his tactics and he went with three central defenders to allow Zabaleta and Aaron Cresswell the chance to play more advanced roles as wing-backs.

The Hammers appeared to respond well to the change and claimed a 2-0 victory as Pedro Obiang and Andre Ayew both netted in the second half.

Zabaleta excelled in his new role with more freedom to get forward and he believes the overall performance was long overdue for West Ham.

“I played as a wing-back against Huddersfield. It’s been a long time since I played in that position, but I was happy with the performance,” Zabaleta told West Ham’s official website.

“I always tried to support in attack and also always try to be in the right position defensively. Overall I think we were solid at the back.

We needed a performance like that as defenders, because in the last three games we conceded ten goals.

“That wasn’t good enough, so I’m very happy with the performance overall. The whole team did great.

A clean sheet like Monday’s brings confidence back and hopefully we can continue playing in that way.”

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