I really cannot believe that I will be writing about Manuel Pellegrini any more after this weekend. There cannot possibly be any way that he can survive as the manager of West Ham, whatever the result this evening. In view of the postponement of the Liverpool game (and perhaps even if it hadn’t been postponed) there is a very big chance that we will be in one of the relegation positions at Christmas. Very few managers survive after a run of results that we have had in the past few weeks, plummeting down the table from the heady heights of fifth place. Enough is enough. A change is necessary. There is no need to feel sorry for him – just take a look at the pay-off he will get, despite the poor performance. The exit poll taken as the fans left the ground after the Arsenal debacle predicts that he will be gone well before Christmas.
I’ve collected some of the comments attributed to him this week.
“All of us know we need a result.”
“I always think as a manager that the results of the team depends on the individual performance of a player. After that you can work a lot on tactical, physical and technical work but the players decide the games.”
“Of course, when you have your important players not in their best moment, the results of the team will not be good.”
“You must find why they are not in that moment and try to work with them and give them confidence and I hope that most of them will return as soon as possible to their normal performance.”
‘Well of course all of us know we need the results. We have just five points from the last nine games.”
“We need to return to being a consistent and solid team in the way we did against Chelsea and for 60-65 minutes against Arsenal. The points that we have are not enough for this team.”
“We dominated for 60 minutes. Maybe scoring the second goal would have been so important.
“It (booing at the end) was understandable because the last five games that we play here, we didn’t win.
“If you don’t win at home, your fans are not going to be happy.
“You cannot concede three goals in every game. Unfortunately for us, we are doing wrong things, but we need to continue fighting.”
The following is not a comment made by MP but it could have been – “And now the end is near and so I face the final curtain.”
Asked if he thought he could fix it, Pellegrini added: “Of course.”
A lot of things have been written about a rift between Pellegrini and Felipe Anderson. Here are some of the comments attributed to our Brazilian playmaker this week.
“When I arrived it was hard but we started winning and I started to show my potential by helping the team with goals, assists and dribbles, and right now things are not working out as we want.”
“Things have to improve and I have to improve to be able to help the team.”
“As I always say, this is a collective game. If I don’t score and the team wins, I’m happy, but if I don’t score and the team loses and I couldn’t help the team as I want to, it’s difficult.”
“But we need to keep on working hard and think positively.”
“Monday’s match was a very negative result and one that we didn’t expect because we were at home and because we had played well in the previous two matches.”
“But we know that we need to keep working hard to get out of this situation.”
“This is the worst phase I have been going through with the team.”
West Ham go into this “must win” game against Southampton, a team that has improved in recent weeks, certainly since being thrashed 9-0 at home by Leicester, knowing (well if they don’t know I’ve just told them!) that they have beaten Southampton in Premier League games more than they have beaten any other team. Our results against them in recent times have been positive with four wins in the last five Premier League meetings.
Knowing how our heads seem to go down when we concede a goal, one statistic that I read this week is troubling. In our last 15 visits to Southampton (a period of time that stretches back almost 25 years) we have failed to score the first goal in the game! I’m not sure what the odds will be, but based on that, you can almost guarantee that Southampton will take the lead by scoring the first goal. Despite their poor season they have managed to score in every league game they’ve played apart from two. Only Liverpool, Manchester City and Wolves have scored in more games than that.
As West Ham fans we’ve had little to cheer in recent games, and don’t need reminding of some of the statistics being banded about. Seven defeats in our last nine league games, five points fewer than at this stage last season, and twelve points dropped from winning positions (which equals our total for the whole of last season!) make depressing reading. It is hard to ignore the goalkeeping situation – we have lost 14% of games when Fabianski was in goal, and 78% of games since he has been injured and out of the team. We need him back sooner rather than later!
On a positive note (bearing in mind we are playing away), 56% of our total points this season have been collected on our travels, a percentage unmatched by any other team in Premier League. (It starts from a low base though). Our manager should be confident of victory too based on his past record, having won six and drawn one of the eight games he has been in charge of teams playing Southampton.
Of course I want us to win and I hope we can win. I don’t honestly believe that when we play our next match at Selhurst Park on Boxing Day that MP will be in charge whatever the result today. There is every chance that we will have a new man at the helm. Surely, despite some deficiencies in the squad, there is enough talent to work with to ensure a mid-table finish at least with these players. I just hope that we can attract a younger manager with fresh ideas, and don’t resort to one of the usual managerial names being banded about in the media.