West Ham vs Cardiff preview: Manuel Pellegrini urges focus ahead of kind fixture list
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Last Updated: 04/12/18 9:53am
Manuel Pellegrini said West Ham should ignore their upcoming kind fixture list and focus on Tuesday's opponents Cardiff.
The Hammers come into the game on the back of a 3-0 win at Newcastle on Saturday, and with Crystal Palace, Fulham, Watford, Southampton and Burnley to come before the end of December, could be forgiven for having one eye on an attractive fixture list.
But Pellegrini said: "If we have our minds focused on Cardiff, it will be an important advance. To win three more points is what we must do here at home.
"One of the most important mistakes you can do is to think that because a team is in a bad position in the table it will be an easy game.
"The best games we played here were against Chelsea and Manchester United.
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"I hope we are conscious tomorrow about that. I hope we give the maximum of our pace and quality to have three points more (against Cardiff) and after that to think of the next rival."
Cardiff are looking for their first away win of the season and could see striker Kenneth Zohore return to the squad after recovering from injury.
Makeshift forward Callum Paterson led the line in their win over Wolves on Friday, and manager Neil Warnock said the 24-year-old Dane would have to work hard before he was welcomed back into the team.
He said: "Ken is stepping up from Monday. He's pain-free for the first time and has done some work with the rehab guys.
"I said to Ken he's got to set his stall out. I know (Callum) Paterson is doing well but he's a made to measure striker.
"He's got to push himself now to get back in the team."
Defenders Aaron Cresswell and Fabian Balbuena are doubts for West Ham.
Cresswell sustained a hamstring problem in Saturday's win over Newcastle, while Balbuena suffered a knock and both will be assessed before Cardiff's visit.
Ryan Fredericks, Manuel Lanzini, Winston Reid, Carlos Sanchez and Andriy Yarmolenko are all out.
Cardiff appear to have no fresh injury concerns.
It is unclear whether striker Kenneth Zohore, who has been recovering from a calf problem, is set to be involved on Tuesday, while defender Greg Cunningham was another player who missed Friday's 2-1 win over Wolves.
Nathaniel Mendez-Laing will be looking to make his first appearance since sustaining a knee injury in August after he was back in the matchday squad as an unused substitute for Friday's contest.
- West Ham United have won their last six matches in all competitions against Cardiff City, scoring 14 goals and conceding just two in those wins.
- This is the first league meeting between West Ham and Cardiff since the 2013-14 season, when the Hammers won both matches 2-0 in the Premier League under Sam Allardyce.
- West Ham have lost their last three home Premier League games against promoted sides, more than they had in their previous 17 such games in the competition (W11 D4 L2). They've never lost four consecutive top-flight home games vs promoted sides.
- Cardiff have lost seven of their eight Premier League games in London, including the last six in a row. Their only victory came at Fulham in September 2013.
- Cardiff are looking to secure consecutive top-flight victories for the first time since April 1962 - the second win back then came against West Ham (3-0).
- No side have won more games from behind in the Premier League this season than Cardiff, with all three of their victories coming in such a manner.
- West Ham's Javier Hernandez scored twice against Newcastle on Saturday - as many goals as he'd scored in his previous 16 Premier League games combined. He's not scored in consecutive league games since February.