West Ham manager David Moyes put down the decision maker for Fabian Balbuena’s red card in unique style, and put things into perspective after suffering a blow to their top four hopes.
West Ham suffered a major blow in their quest to secure a maiden campaign in the Champions League. The Hammers struggled to impose their will on Chelsea throughout the contest, notching just two efforts on target throughout.
Adding to West Ham’s woes, Fabian Balbuena was given his marching orders late on for a truly bizarre incident.
The defender innocuously caught Ben Chilwell’s calf in the act of clearing the ball. Despite the lack of intent, VAR and the referee on the day deemed the incident worthy of red.
Speaking to the BBC after the match, Moyes put things into perspective by noting what this fixture meant last season.
“We had a big game against them last year when we were in a relegation battle and we won that won,” said the Scot.
“This year it was a battle for the Champions League and we couldn’t win it.
“We showed character in the second half to make a better game of it. If we can get all our players back and play Chelsea again tomorrow, it would give us a better hand. We were always in the game, we’re just disappointed we have nothing to show for it.
“We wanted to be in the mix right to the end. If we can give ourselves a chance with the games we’ve got and be in the mix for European football, it’d be great. We’ve been fourth a couple of times this season. It feels good.
“It’s great that we have a chance to get back into the top four. We’re playing against Chelsea and trying to compete, but we just weren’t quite good enough today to do that.”
On Fabian Balbuena’s red card: “I can only say it’s someone who’s never played the game who’s made the decision. Where’s he meant to put his foot?
RED CARD! 🔴
Fabian Balbuena is sent off by referee Chris Kavanagh after he caught Ben Chilwell with his follow through. What do you make of the decision?
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) April 24, 2021
“There was a similar incident with Coufal on Rudiger. That would have at least merited a yellow if the first one was a red. I think we’ve had a day where the refereeing has been really poor.
“Was it a clear and obvious error that the referee missed? It was a really poor decision because we were in the ascendancy at that time.”
We must put this behind us – Bowen
West Ham forward Jarrod Bowen also spoke to the press, telling Sky Sports: “It’s only right we leave everything on the pitch, in the second half we were high up the pitch, pressing them more than in the first half. They started strongly and had a spell which we expected because they are a good side and you have to respect that.
“I feel like the last quarter of the first half we started to have a spell and get back into it and the goal before half-time killed us.
“I think the game wasn’t really full of clear-cut chances. It was just little bits here and there, a bit scrappy.
“We’re disappointed, we’ve lost two on the bounce so the main thing now is that we don’t lose the next game so all our focus is into the next game and putting this one behind us.
“We’ve got a tough run-in now, every game is going to be different, every game is going to be difficult for different reasons. We’ve got five games left now so put it all in and that’s all we can ask of ourselves.”