Sport Soccer

Saturday 23 March 2019

Pellegrini knows it will be a juggling act to keep players happy at West Ham

The Hammers’ first-team squad now totals 29 players.

Jack Wilshere, left, is one of nine new faces at West Ham (David Davies/PA)
Jack Wilshere, left, is one of nine new faces at West Ham (David Davies/PA)

By Andy Sims, Press Association Sport

Manuel Pellegrini admits his biggest problem at West Ham could be keeping all his players happy.

The Hammers have splashed almost £100million on nine summer signings including Lucas Perez, Andriy Yarmolenko, Jack Wilshere and Felipe Anderson.

But with a bloated first-team squad now totalling 29 players, new boss Pellegrini faces some tough decisions with some squad members likely to be disappointed.

“Maybe it is one of the most difficult things for a manager because all of them want to play,” he said.

“If there is a better player, then there is more problems. But for me it is more difficult when you don’t have players, when you just have XI, when you don’t have any problems, when you just choose exactly the same XI every week.

“But that is impossible for the amount of games, for the injuries that players have. For me as a manager it is easier to have more good players, and some of them must wait, but to have that option to change.

“The players know I have to choose one starting XI, but also they know that if during the whole season you don’t have a strong squad and just a team, it can be very difficult to be successful.

“So we have two players in each position, they must be working in a competitive way and after that it is my duty for every game to choose the starting XI that I think is best.”

Pellegrini admitted he could ease the burden by letting some fringe players leave with the transfer window still open elsewhere.

In the meantime the Chilean needs his new-look side to hit the ground running with a tough trip to much-fancied Liverpool first up on Sunday.

“Normally when you bring in so many players you need a period of adjustment, but football does not allow you to have that period,” he added.

“We need to be a competitive team on Sunday and after that next week.

“I hope all the players who have been working around one month, except for the players who arrived late, can be ready to start to be a competitive team.”

Of the nine new faces, goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski, full-back Ryan Fredericks, centre-half Issa Diop, Wilshere, Yarmolenko and Anderson are likeliest starters at Anfield.

Press Association

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