Pellegrini eagerly anticipating Reds test

  • by Staff Writer
  • Friday, 20th September 2019

Manuel Pellegrini is unsure whether or not West Ham have a better team than last season - but has challenged his squad to keep up their recent run of good form by beating Manchester United on Sunday afternoon.

Since being overwhelmed by reigning league champions Manchester City in Stratford on the opening day of the season the Hammers have gone five matches unbeaten, winning three and drawing two of their fixtures.

However Pellegrini believes this weekend's clash with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side with be the first real test of how far the team has improved since that dreadful opening day defeat.

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"Maybe," he replied, when asked whether this season's squad was better than the class of 2018/19. "But that doesn't mean we are going to beat Manchester United.

"We beat them 3-1 here and I hope we can get a win again. We are in a good moment so, if we are playing against the big teams, we must show we can play in the same way.

"We made mistakes in the game against Man City that we had prepared not to do. But we continued working in the same way.

"We want to be a team that goes for the game from the first minute. So far, the results are what we want and what we expected; we must continue to be a consistent team."

And the boss also maintained that the fitness of key players would be hugely important if the Hammers are to go on and stake a claim for a European spot come next May.

"If you can have all your squad for every game, it's very easy," he added.

"You have to pick a starting XI and then have seven players on the bench. You might leave five or six out, and they won't be happy, but for me as a manager that's easier than not having those players.

"The less injuries you have with players, the better."

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Meanwhile the manager once again refused to be drawn on whether or not he had set his team a target of qualifying for Europe at the end of the season.

Pellegrini has consistently been asked during interviews this season whether he feels that West Ham are ready to break into the upper echelons of the Premier League. Yet once again, he refrained to confirm whether or not that was the case.

"I never set a target for our team before the season," he insisted.

"If people have that feeling, maybe it is because the team is demonstrating that they are able to do that. We now have a good test against Manchester United and we will try to beat them."

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