Pellegrini: We’ll work to recover the lost points at Southampton

Manuel Pellegrini

Manuel Pellegrini wants his West Ham United side to finish their first half of the season with a bang at Southampton on Thursday.

The Hammers play their 19th game of the campaign at St Mary’s, looking to bounce back from defeat to Watford at London Stadium on Saturday.

That 2-0 reverse to the Hornets ended an excellent four-game winning streak, which took Pellegrini’s side into the top half of the table and banished any lingering memories of their difficult start to the campaign.

Now, with the east Londoners facing the challenge of the Saints, the manager is fully focused on a swift return to winning ways. 

He said: “We have the last game of the first part of the season, and if you can tell me that after we lost the first four games we could finish with 27 points, that would be a good first round for us.

“We know that we have to play a good game against a team who have won their last two, but we will try to recover the points we lost at home to try to add three more.”

One thing the Hammers will have to overcome on the South Coast is a lengthy injury list, which was added to on Saturday by the early withdrawal of both Chicharito and Fabian Balbuena.

Pellegrini will have to check on their fitness while assessing how best to keep his available players fresh during a hectic period.

He added: “We need to play a lot of games during December – seven games and then six more in January. Unfortunately for us we have eight players who don’t have the option to return soon. Maybe for Marko Arnautovic, I don’t know about Southampton, but he could be back soon.

“We need to see about the two players who went off the pitch on Saturday, Chicharito and Fabian.

“Javier had a kick in his back during the last week and he couldn’t work for all of it and he felt the same problem on Saturday, maybe with some strain in his hamstring.

“If Fabian cannot play, I think Angelo Ogbonna has demonstrated that he is a very good centre back. He is working hard, so he will have his opportunity and I trust in him a lot.

“The injuries are a big problem, but we need to trust the squad and try to make a good rotation for the players.