Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Adama Traore scores their first goal. (REUTERS/David Klein)
West Ham United’s pre-season optimism after a spate of big-money signings continued to drain away as they conceded late on for a 1-0 loss to Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday that left them bottom of the Premier League.
Wolves substitute Adama Traore struck in the 93rd minute to inflict a fourth consecutive league defeat on West Ham — only the second time the east London club have started a campaign in such miserable fashion.
Manager Manuel Pellegrini, a Premier League winner with Manchester City, was hired to oversee a squad rebuilding programme that has cost close to 100 million pounds ($129.61 million) but another season of struggle looks in store.
After the forthcoming international break, West Ham face matches against Everton, Chelsea and Manchester United.
Pellegrini said the home defeats by Bournemouth and now promoted Wolves were especially worrying.
“I don’t think it is a bad start, it is a very bad start. We can’t lose six points here at home like we have,” the Chilean said. “Playing away against Liverpool (4-0 defeat) and Arsenal (3-1 loss) and you don’t play so well is understandable.
“Here at home to lose we must be very worried.”
West Ham’s starting lineup against Wolves featured the likes of new signings Issa Diop, Jack Wilshere, Felipe Anderson and Carlos Sanchez. While they will take time to settle in, Pellegrini refused to use that as an excuse.
“You can always have a lot of excuses for results, but it is not normal to lose four games,” he said.
“In the training ground we are doing well, no lack of attitude. We have to take that work during the week to a game where there is that added pressure.
“We are just starting and will resolve that problem.”
After a turgid first half, both teams burst into life in the second period and West Ham’s Lukasz Fabianski and Wolves’ Rui Patricio pulled off a string of fine saves, including one stop by the visiting keeper with his face to deny Marko Arnautovic.
Wolves striker Raul Jimenez had a glorious chance to put the Midlands side ahead but he failed to connect with Matt Doherty’s low cross with the goal at his mercy.
Traore eventually settled the match after a counter-attack, smashing the ball into the bottom corner to give Wolves their first Premier League win since 2012.
Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo told the club’s website: “It feels good. Even if we didn’t win I would be happy because we worked hard. We are happy and for our fans it’s massive, to come here and get three points,”
Wolves moved up to ninth in the table with five points.