West Ham players must be smarter to avoid red cards, says Zabaleta
REUTERS - Frustrated West Ham United defender Pablo Zabaleta has urged his team mates to be smarter after they were reduced to 10 men early in their 1-1 draw at Burnley in the Premier League at the weekend.
Striker Andy Carroll's 27th-minute red card left West Ham trying to hold on to a 1-0 lead but for much of the match and they eventually gave up an 85th minute equaliser.
Zabaleta was all the more frustrated as it was the second time this season West Ham had been reduced to 10 men before half time after the 3-2 loss at Southampton in August.
"It is the second time we have had a player sent-off in the first half," the Argentine told the Daily Telegraph.
"Marko Arnautovic against Southampton and now Andy Carroll. We need to be more careful because in the Premier League, playing with one player less for a long time is really hard. We were 1-0 up and we need to be clever."
Carroll was sent off after receiving two yellow cards in the space of 99 seconds, both cautions for elbowing Burnley players while contesting headers, and Zabaleta believes the England international was too aggressive.
"From my point of view, it looks aggressive, especially the second one when he knew he was on a yellow already," Zabaleta added.
"We can talk sometimes about situations where it's tough for the referee but there is nothing to say about the referee. I think these two challenges, Andy's challenges, were a bit nasty from my point of view."
West Ham are 15th in the table and host 14th-placed Brighton and Hove Albion on Friday.
(Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru, editing by Nick Mulvenney)