Ryan Fredericks says Manuel Pellegrini’s innovative methods are already starting to change the way West Ham United defend.
The manager has introduced his own unique 4-2-3-1 system that is new to many of his squad, but worked to devastating effect at his previous clubs, Villarreal, Real Madrid, Malaga and Manchester City.
The shape is based on a double-pivot to provide stability in the midfield and cover the defence, full-backs playing high up the pitch, wingers who are able to cut inside and support the attack and a mobile, roaming centre forward – all of which were evident in the pre-season matches at Wycombe Wanderers and Preston North End.
West Ham played with a five-man defence for much of the 2017/18 campaign, while right-back Fredericks is one of the few squad members to have played in a similar formation last season, when he won promotion from the Championship with Fulham.
It’s different to what any of the lads have done before, but I can see on the pitch that it’s working already
The 25-year-old explained how it may take time for the Hammers to perfect Pellegrini’s tactical approach, but there are already signs that the Chilean’s influence is starting to take effect.
“We’re working on a lot of things in training defensive-wise,” Fredericks revealed. “It’s different to what any of the lads have done before, but I can see on the pitch that it’s working already.
“There are a few little things that we’ve got to get used to, but we’re not conceding chances every five or ten minutes.
“We’re looking a lot more solid and I think, if we cut out some of the silly mistakes, we’re going to be a much more solid team and harder to break down.”
Fredericks and his teammates will get another opportunity to put Pellegrini’s tactics into practice when they travel to the Banks’s Stadium to face Championship side Aston Villa on Wednesday evening.