Pellegrini: We must play with the same mentality

Manuel Pellegrini

West Ham United Manager Manuel Pellegrini is making no assumptions ahead of his side’s second-round EFL Cup tie at Newport County on Tuesday.

The EFL League Two side have made a name for themselves as giant-killers in cup competitions in recent seasons. Having eliminated Leeds United in the FA Cup two seasons ago and then taken Tottenham Hotspur to a replay, Newport subsequently proved they were not one-season wonders when they knocked out Leicester City and Middlesbrough in the same competition last campaign.

Pellegrini is determined that his side will not bow to complacency against opposition from a lower division, calling on his players to learn from last season’s 3-1 victory away at AFC Wimbledon at the same stage of the EFL Cup last year.

“We know that Newport are a team that play well in the cups,” Pellegrini said. 

“They’ve eliminated Leicester, they’ve drawn with Tottenham, so we are trying to put our mindset into continuing in the EFL Cup. We also gained a lot of experience last season against Wimbledon.

“We need to play with the same attitude that we played with against Watford. If not, we are going to have some bad moments.”

The Chilean was quick to turn his attention to the fixture following the Hammers’ first win of the campaign on Saturday, and has leant the potentially tricky trip to Newport his full focus.

He said: “As soon as we finished against Watford, we needed to be preparing for the cup game. 

“It’s a different competition and we need to play on a Tuesday. Different competitions and different games have different moments.

“We need to see other players put in good performances, so until after this game, the most important competition to me is the EFL Cup. On Wednesday, it will be the Premier League again.”

Albian Ajeti

The West Ham Manager mentioned that the cup tie could also see a number of rotations within his first-team line-up.

These could include a first appearance in Claret and Blue for summer acquisition and Swiss international striker Albian Ajeti.

The 22-year-old joined the Club from FC Basel for an undisclosed fee this summer, and Pellegrini has been impressed with the work his new player has put in at Rush Green training ground so far. 

“We need to make some changes – that’s why Jack Wilshere and Robert Snodgrass were not involved [against Watford].

“We’ll see about the starting eleven, but I am certain that Ajeti will play, because he’s doing very well in training sessions, and he deserves that opportunity.”

West Ham’s trip to Newport tonight has been selected for live television coverage by Sky Sports Football. The broadcast starts at 7.30pm, with kick-off 15 minutes later.