Pellegrini pleased with 'very useful' pre-season opener
Manuel Pellegrini believes Sunday’s fixture at FC Winterthur was a ‘very useful’ way for West Ham United to finish the first week of pre-season training.
The Hammers were given an intensive workout by the Swiss Challenge League side, who ran out 3-2 winners on a hot and sunny day in northern Switzerland.
Pellegrini, who took charge of West Ham for the first time at the Stadion Schutzenwiese, was pleased to see his squad given such a stern physical test at the end of a lung-busting week in Bad Ragaz.
To finish the week playing against a team with a good technical level was very useful for us
“That was a very good game, a useful game. They worked the whole week and on Thursday and Friday they had three training sessions on the same day, so to finish the week playing against a team with a good technical level was very useful for us.”
Pellegrini has been happy with the way the players have taken to his methods before informing them that another week of intense work awaits at their Alpine training base.
“First of all, I think we came to a very good place, a nice place where the players are comfortable and we have all the facilities to work hard. So, when the players are in a good mood, it is very easy to work well. After that, we had a programme that all of them did exactly in the way we asked them to do it.
“On Monday, we start again working three times in the day and we will prepare the team to arrive in the best shape that they be on 11 August.
“At the moment we are just preparing the squad and trying to give a similar amount of minutes, especially in this first week. Then, in the next game we will probably play with one team for around 60 minutes and the first week of August is where we pretend to have the team with all the players we need for next season in their best positions.”
Pellegrini will welcome the fit-again Michail Antonio and the returning Marko Arnautovic to the training group on Monday, but revealed that Aaron Cresswell was unavailable for Sunday’s game after suffering a minor groin injury.
“Cresswell has a small muscle injury, but we didn’t want to take the risk, so that was why he didn’t play,” he confirmed. “Antonio worked a complete week with the physiotherapist and warmed-up with the squad and from Monday he will start working normally.
“It is a little too soon for Winston Reid to come back [from his knee injury], but he is working hard and we hope he will be ready at the end of July.”
Finally, the manager had positive news when asked about the possibility of further reinforcements being added to his squad over the new few days and weeks.
“I hope that, next week, or before we finish July, the fans of West Ham will have good news. We are trying to build a strong squad and to find the players that we need.
“Probably we are going to see new faces soon.”