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Pellegrini to ring the changes

Filed: Friday, 4th January 2019
By: Staff Writer

Manuel Pellegrini says he intends to rest several first team players for tomorrow's FA Cup third round clash with Birmingham City.

The in-form Midlands club arrive in Stratford unbeaten in their last five Championship matches, yet the manager insisted that the time was right to rest certain players who played extensively during the busy Christmas programme.

However Pellegrini insisted that he was taking the Cup - a trophy the manager believes West Ham could potentially win - seriously.

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"It's important to rest players that played so many games in December, but the FA Cup is important too," he said during his pre-match press conference. "We will see which of our players, that played so many games, will continue playing.

"To win a trophy with West Ham is one of my targets. I will always try to win. The FA Cup is a very important trophy and for any manager it's important to try to win.

"At the moment we are at the beginning of the Cup. We will try to continue in the FA Cup, like every other team in the league. It's another option to win a trophy and another opportunity to qualify for Europe, so we will fight until the end."

One player likely to come into the team is new signing Samir Nasri, who was an unused substitute when West Ham drew 2-2 with Brighton on Wednesday evening.

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And he could well be joined in the starting XI by Andy Carroll, who began against the Seagulls before being withdrawn at half time.

"Samir will be in the squad tomorrow," confirmed Pellegrini. "We will see if he will start, but he will be important this year.

"He is looking well. He has lost some weight. I think football is like riding a bicycle. You never forget. I trust in him, a lot. He is motivated and working hard. I am sure he will make a difference.

"Andy is okay. He has a cut above his eye [from Wednesday's match] but it's nothing important. He's been involved in more and more minutes and, on Saturday, he will be important."

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