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Sport in brief: Zabaleta apologises for woeful West Ham

Sorry display: Zabaleta PICTURE: PA

PABLO ZABALETA admitted West Ham were well below-par during their 4-0 defeat at Oxford and said sorry to the club’s travelling supporters.

The Hammers were knocked out of the Carabao Cup in the third round at Kassam Stadium with the U’s scoring four times in the second half.

Ahead of tomorrow’s match at Bournemouth, Zabaleta said: ‘If you look at the performance, it’s not been anywhere near our standard and also in the way we lost was not good.

‘We are not the first Premier League team to be knocked out of the Carabao Cup. We saw Spurs (at Colchester) and we saw some other Premier League teams struggling to win games like that. We feel sorry about the performance and sorry to the away fans who came to the game.

‘Obviously we just need to move on now and look at the mistakes we have made and think about Saturday’s match.’

Wilder warns Blades not to begin a Reds shirt swap

SHEFFIELD United boss Chris Wilder insists his players will not be star-struck by Liverpool tomorrow. The Reds head to Bramall Lane on the back of 15 straight Premier League wins, stretching back into last season. Liverpool fans John Lundstram and Jack O’Connell are in the Blades squad but Wilder said: ‘I don’t want our players to look at them all starry-eyed. ‘The challenge is to make sure this becomes a regular fixture. I don’t want the players speaking to theirs before and, “Can I swap shirts and any chance of signing this?” And they won’t.’

■ BURY have failed in a bid to secure a League Two place next season. The Shakers, who were expelled from the English Football League in August, were denied a place after the remaining 71 clubs voted to relegate just one club from League Two this term. Bury North MP James Frith called the decision ‘devastating’.

■ £270 — Fine handed to Barcelona by the Spanish Football Federation for the way the club handled the transfer of Antoine Griezmann from Atletico Madrid. Griezmann joined Barca for £107million this summer, signing a five-year deal. However, Atletico have sought an extra £72m after claiming the fee received was ‘insufficient’ to cover his buyout clause. Barca are appealing the fine