Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Snodgrass Blasts 'Criminal' Defending

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Snodgrass Blasts 'Criminal' Defending

Article excerpt

Byline: football Ken Dyer

ROBERT SNODGRASS described West Ham's defending against Bournemouth as "criminal" and warned that, unless there is a swift improvement, Manuel Pellegrini's side will struggle.

West Ham conceded 68 goals last season, the worst defensive record in the Premier League along with relegated Stoke, and the 2-1 home defeat by Bournemouth, following the 4-0 mauling by Liverpool, suggests that they are yet to solve that problem.

"When we've let the dust settle and assessed the game, we'll be very disappointed with the goals we've conceded," said Snodgrass, who started Saturday's match after impressing in pre-season following his return to the club from a loan spell at Aston Villa last season.

West Ham had led through a first-half Marko Arnautovic penalty but two goals in six second-half minutes were decisive. Callum Wilson evaded several challenges to score before Steve Cook's headed winner from a free-kick.

Snodgrass said: "With the first one, their player has run 40 yards and we had five defenders against one attacker. At any level that's criminal.

"The manager has tried to stop that sort of defending and it's very difficult to take because you're never going to get better with mistakes like that.

"We've probably worked on 500 setpieces leading up to the season because he has been wanting to stop that kind of goal and then we concede a goal from a set-piece.

"You just can't defend like that and the boys know that as well.

"I can't comment on last season because I wasn't here and I don't know what happened. I've come back with a new manager, his standards and pedigree.

"I can only take notice of his words and they are that we cannot defend like we did last season.

"I take it that it was quite bad and when you look at the number of goals we conceded, you can see where he's coming from. Anybody watching the game will see that you can't defend the way we did and expect to win.

"You need to be ready, to adapt quickly and learn fast. …

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