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Hammers will not give up on top four dream, says Soucek

West Ham United 0 Chelsea 1


Leg up: Tomas Soucek beats Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic to the ball

Leg up: Tomas Soucek beats Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic to the ball

Getty Images

Leg up: Tomas Soucek beats Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic to the ball

Tomas Soucek is refusing to abandon West Ham's top-four ambition despite Saturday's 1-0 defeat by Chelsea.

The injury-hit Hammers lost back-to-back Premier League matches for only the second time this season due to Timo Werner's first-half strike.

They were not helped by a bizarre red card shown to defender Fabian Balbuena, who caught Ben Chilwell's calf after clearing the ball. But West Ham remain fifth, three points behind the Blues, and with a favourable run-in could still break back into the top four.

"It was a tough game for us," Czech midfielder Soucek said.

"We wanted to win because we were playing at home and we have a very good record at home. We wanted to be back in the top four again, it's our dream, so we were disappointed with the result.

"It was hard, and we didn't create many chances. But in the second half we started well and this is the way how we would like to play.

"We said in the changing room after the game that we should have played from the start like we did from the start of the second half. It's a shame for us, but we were still only 1-0 down and we could have scored and drawn or even won.

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"It's a shame, but still I think that we played better in the last 20 minutes, but the red card made it harder again."

Soucek added: "It's great that we can compare ourselves to teams like Chelsea and the other teams around us.

"We have five games until the end and we still have a dream to be in as high a position as possible. We want to prepare for the next game and I hope we still have a big chance."

The Hammers badly missed key men Declan Rice and Michail Antonio, as well as full-backs Aaron Cresswell and Arthur Masuaku and suspended centre-half Craig Dawson.

They travel to Burnley next Monday and manager David Moyes said: "We are hoping to try and get some players back if we can.

"Saturday was probably as low as we had been in terms of players, but nevertheless, I thought the players put on a good show.

"We lost 1-0 to a team who are very much in form, and maybe we could have got a bit closer if the decision hadn't gone against us late on."

On the red card that referee Chris Kavanagh flashed in Balbuena's direction, Moyes added: "For me the big thing is it's a really rank, rotten decision and it shouldn't be given.

"I don't know who stopped the game, I thought it was supposed to be clear and obvious, but it tells me someone who has never played the game has made the decision. I don't see anywhere else where he can put his foot."

Victory meant Chelsea took control in the race for the top four, and they face Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-final first leg tomorrow night.

Boss Thomas Tuchel said: "At 1-0, it's always tough until the end but I felt the team was very focused and strong.

"It's the best way to arrive in another massive match in the Champions League."

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