Pellegrini: You want options in attack and you can play in a different way

Manuel Pellegrini


Manuel Pellegrini hailed the attacking threat posed by his West Ham United team after Saturday’s thrilling Betway Cup clash with Athletic Club.

The Hammers may have lost the penalty shootout following a 2-2 draw with their Spanish opponents, but there was plenty to get excited about at London Stadium.

Manuel Lanzini scored his third goal in three pre-season matches to cap an eye-catching performance, converting Pablo Fornals’ cross, while Sebastien Haller added an assist for Jack Wilshere.

With Felipe Anderson and substitutes Chicharito, Robert Snodgrass, Grady Diangana, Michail Antonio and Andriy Yarmolenko also looking sharp, Pellegrini was in positive mood in his post-match press conference.

As a manager you want options and you can play in a different way. You can want more muscle or more technique, but for me you want players who always want the ball

Manuel Pellegrini

“I think we have different options,” he confirmed. “You saw in this game we played with Wilshere, Felipe Anderson, Lanzini and Fornals, but in the second half it was Antonio, Yarmolenko, Diangana and Snodgrass, or we could play with two strikers.

“With Fornals, Lanzini and Anderson, the three of them can play in all the positions behind the striker so we have different options, not only with those three players, but with others. For the moment, we have a complete squad.

“As a manager you want options and you can play in a different way. You can want more muscle or more technique, but for me you want players who always want the ball.”


Jack Wilshere and Manuel Lanzini were both on the scoresheet against Athletic Club


Pellegrini was particularly pleased for Wilshere, who scored his first goal for his boyhood club with a smart first-time finish following outstanding hold-up play from centre forward Haller.

“I think Jack was excellent today,” the manager observed. “He worked the complete pre-season without any problems and also before the team did the pre-season, so he is 100 per cent fit.

“When he feels he is in good shape, he’s a player who can make the difference.”

Pellegrini also dismissed suggestions that West Ham are short of options in the centre forward position, pointing to the different strengths possessed by Club-record signing Haller, Chicharito and Michail Antonio.

“Javier [Hernandez] is a penalty box player and he always scores ten or 12 goals every season, whereas Sebastien is a player who works more into the space and with the ball,” he continued. “When you play with a striker like Javier, who scores so many goals, you have to create a lot of chances and he will score. With Sebastien, he is a mixed player and he also scores a lot so, for me, I am happy with both of them.

“We also have Antonio who can play in that position, so I think we have different options.”

Two players who were not involved on Saturday were goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski and captain Mark Noble, with the manager confirming that both are edging closer to returning to full training after suffering a groin injury and dead leg respectively.

“Most of them are progressing,” he said. “Lukasz did an MRI today. He has a small injury, so we will see what happens with him during this week. Mark will start running probably in the middle of the week so we will see what will happen with him.

“I think that for Mark, it is going to be difficult for him to play, but with Lukasz it depends how he works on Tuesday and Wednesday.”