Pellegrini: We have to work hard for these 24 points
Manuel Pellegrini will take all the time he needs to decide on the team he feels gives West Ham United the best possible chance of defeating Huddersfield Town and boosting their chances of securing European qualification.
The Hammers welcome the struggling Terriers to London Stadium on Saturday seeking to bounce back following a disappointing defeat at another relegation-threatened opponent, Cardiff City, last time out.
Pellegrini named an unchanged side for that game, having seen the same players score a comfortable home win over Newcastle United in their previous match, but the manager admitted in his pre-match press conference that he is considering his options.
“On Saturday we are going to see what the starting eleven is,” he said. “You ask a manager, they are always thinking of different options for different games.
“When you win you were 100 per cent clear and right in your decision. When you don't win you did all wrong. Maybe it was the best way for me to start with the same starting XI from Newcastle [at Cardiff].
“After that when you finish the game you say: ‘Why did I do that?’ but we are making the analysis we need and we are going to decide what is the starting XI.”
This is a big team. From the first day that I arrived here, when you have a club that plays with 60,000 people behind you every game, it is because it is a big team
West Ham are unbeaten at home in the Premier League since before Christmas, but away from London Stadium the Irons have not tasted victory since winning at Southampton on 27 December.
That inconsistency has so far cost the Hammers the chance of establishing themselves in seventh place, but Pellegrini insists the opportunity and motivation are still there to finish as the so-called ‘best of the rest’ this term.
“In every game you must give your best performance, first as a player and after that, collectively as a team,” he demanded. “I think we have to work hard for these 24 points as we still have more to give.
“We are just five points from the European spots if one of the big teams wins the FA Cup so we have that mentality.
“This is a big team. From the first day that I arrived here, when you have a club that plays with 60,000 people behind you every game, it is because it is a big team.
“We are trying to improve our squad, we are going to try to improve the way we play, our mentality, our ambitious minds. Of course, we continue with the same work because you never give up.
“When you play against big teams you can demonstrate that you are able to do it. After that you must be a solid and consistent team and understand that every game will dictate whether you have a successful or unsuccessful season.
“The mentality must be that you can improve every week, in every training session, and that’s what we are trying to do this season.”