Pellegrini: Hammers played a very good game in Fulham win
Manager Manuel Pellegrini was delighted with the pace and intensity shown by his West Ham United side in a well-earned 1-0 pre-season victory away to Fulham.
Manuel Lanzini's 18th-minute wonder-strike was the difference in an entertaining fixture at Craven Cottage, but it was the work the team did in recovery that really caught the eye. The desire to claim the ball back was evident, with the likes of Lanzini, Felipe Anderson and Pablo Fornals all quick to chase down Fulham defenders.
The boss could take a lot of positives from Saturday's results and was particularly happy with the clean-sheet and the efforts from his side.
I think that today was a really useful game for us. We had a good pace from the beginning.
"These are not official games but you need to play as well as possible," Pellegrini said. "I think that today was a really useful game for us. We had a good pace from the beginning. We kept a clean-sheet, which we couldn't do in the other games. We gave minutes to most players in our squad and I think, in the first 45 minutes especially, we played a very good game.
"The squad is almost ready. We have a couple of weeks more to decide on some things before the season starts. We're happy though. We have two players in each position and we already have more than one year working. We started last season with nine new players and, of course, a new manager. I hope we will improve again this season."
Pellegrini elected to start with an exciting opening eleven, giving West Ham debuts to record signing Sebastien Haller and Spanish midfielder Fornals. Both performed excellently, and the manager was delighted to see them both come through their first Hammers fixture.
The Chilean says the onus is on players like Fornals to put the likes of Haller in the right position to score, and believe the partnership could prove fruitful.
He continued: "Of course, I'm happy to see Haller out there. It's his first game; he's new and I think also for other new players like Pablo Fornals, and Andriy Yarmolenko who is coming back.
"In them, I think we have creative players who can give to Haller, to Chicharito, to Antonio, during the game. And then they must score."
With a win under their belts and less than two weeks until the Premier League season begins, Pellegrini is cautious of setting West Ham a target for the new campaign just yet. But the boss is optimistic that, based on Saturday's showing, the team will continue to improve and enjoy a positive 2019/20 campaign.
"I don't want to set a target at the beginning of the season," he added. "Last season, against big teams, we played very well. We must try to not be inconsistent, especially with our bad start last season.
"We will keep working hard. I have a lot of trust in this squad and I'm sure we are absolutely happy in the way we are playing."