Pellegrini relieved to get past Wimbledon

“Downward spiral” must change says Ljungberg – but he refuses to give up on top four

West Ham United manager Manuel Pellegrini admits he was relieved to beat AFC Wimbledon 3-1 in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday after a poor start in the Premier League.

The Irons came into their second-round cup tie on the back of three consecutive defeats and appeared destined for another disappointment when the League One side took the lead in the second minute.

However, The Dons were reduced to 10 men in the 18th minute when centre-back Rodney McDonald was sent off with a second yellow, and West Ham took advantage in the second half as Issa Diop, Angelo Ogbonna, and Javier Hernandez scored to secure safe passage into round three.

“I’m happy because we did our job against a team playing with one player less,” Pellegrini said after the game. “We were obligated to win this game but when you are losing 1-0 it’s not easy when you cannot score. I think we kept calm all game, we continued trying.

“It was important because when you continue losing, you need to win, the mind of the players, they need to continue trusting. We did our duty to eliminate Wimbledon but if we were the team eliminated it would have caused a lot of damage.”

West Ham will be hoping the cup win translates into better form in the Premier League, where they will face Wolverhampton Wanderers at home on Saturday.