Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Don't Blame Pellegrini for West Ham's Bruising Start ... the Problems Run Deeper

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Don't Blame Pellegrini for West Ham's Bruising Start ... the Problems Run Deeper

Article excerpt

Byline: Tony Evans @tonyevans92a

DID anyone really believe that things would be different for West Ham United this season? The campaign in East London has opened with the most predictable meltdown of the Premier League's opening weeks.

The main question now is whether the situation will spiral out of control.

The 1-0 defeat by Wolves at the London Stadium on Saturday was dispiriting. New players, new manager, same old issues.

There was little urgency in West Ham's play. Opponents especially Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho were allowed time on the ball.

Pressing appears to be a dirty word in Stratford. Defending was often shambolic.

When Manuel Pellegrini's team had possession there was no zip in their passing. Too many players appeared to expect their team-mates to do the hard work. The side lacked commitment, belief and ambition.

This is not how it was supposed to be after the summer's PS100million spending spree.

Sadly, fans have seen it all before. It is barely September and another relegation battle seems inevitable. In Stratford the contusions appear in claret and blue, not black and blue, as blow after blow rains down on the Hammers.

Pellegrini is an unlikely candidate to break the cycle of torture.

The Chilean (below) won the title with Manchester City but a team with West Ham's record of turmoil could have done with a charismatic presence, an inspiring manager who could energise the dressing room and lift spirits across the club.

The 64-year-old had spent the previous two years in presumably lucrative semiretirement at Hebei China Fortune. Surely the future should look, well, a little fresher? For City, Pellegrini was a safe pair of hands, a calming influence on the club after Roberto Mancini's explosive tenure left the squad in uproar. …

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