Sheffield United: Why West Ham thought they deserved to beat The Blades
Manuel Pellegrini praised Sheffield United's resilience after watching them hold West Ham to a draw but insisted his team created enough "options" to win the game.
Describing the result against Chris Wilder's side as a missed opportunity, the Chilean blamed profligate finishing for extending the hosts' winless run to five games.
"Of course we are disappointed, because we dropped points at home," Pellegrini said. "We created options to win the game, but from those options you must score. We had three or four options to decide the game. From that they draw, and then they defend very well."
United remain unbeaten away from home since January following a performance which, despite not being their most fluent of the season, showcased all of the qualities responsible for building that run. Fractious in the first-half, Wilder's team fell behind when Robert Snodgrass took advantage of a defensive lapse to slide the ball home past Dean Henderson. But United showed concentration and focus to sieze control of the sceond, getting their reward when substitute Lys Mousset produced an excellent finish to restore parity. Although West Ham eventually wrestled back the momentum, Mo Besic' introduction helped the visitors keep them largely at arms-length, although Snodgrass did hit a post before being withdrawn.
"Because we are in the final two or three minutes of the game, we want two or three players inside the box and we need fresh legs in there to try and score the goal," Pellegrini responded, having been asked to explain a change which prompted boos from the home crowd.
Sebastien Haller, who reportedly cost more than United's entire summer spend when he moved to east London during the close season, struggled to make an impression. The Frenchman cut an isolated figure at times; something Pellegrini also attributed to United's organisation off the ball.
"To play with Sebastian, it is not easy to create chances against Sheffield United because they are a good team," Pellegrini said. "We tried lots of different options and we created chances but we only scored one."