West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini has said that his side “deserve to be a big team” as they prepare to try and break into the European places during the 2019/20 season.
Pellegrini took over the Hammers last summer and guided them to a 10th-place finish in his debut campaign at the London Stadium. The Chilean now feels that it is time for the club to push on amid intense competition in the top half of the Premier League.
Can West Ham join England’s elite? Five things to know…
- West Ham finished five points behind seventh last season.
- They have signed Pablo Fornals and Sebastien Haller this summer to boost their forward options.
- The London Stadium’s capacity is capable of competing with the ‘Big Six’.
- Pellegrini is one of just 10 managers to win the Premier League.
- The Hammers have not won a major trophy since the FA Cup in 1980.
Speaking on the BBC Football Daily podcast, Pellegrini said: “West Ham deserve to be a big team. We have so many fans and we are so popular in London.
“We are trying to improve one step more and we are all working together for that.”
Midfielder Declan Rice was also interviewed on the podcast and echoed his manager’s view. Rice played for England in the Nations League this summer and has set his sights on more overseas action with West Ham in the future.
He said: “We have to be aiming for Europe with the squad we have now. Anything below that is a failure and most of the players would say that.
“We finished 10th, but we had so many chances to finish seventh. We have to improve our away form and our consistency.”
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The chasing pack on the top six’s heels
This summer has seen the teams vying for seventh place make some seriously impressive signings.
Wolves have signed the likes of Patrick Cutrone and Jesus Vallejo whilst making the loans of Leander Dendoncker and Raúl Jiménez permanent. Leicester did similar with Youri Tielemans moving to the King Power permanently and Ayoze Perez joining from Newcastle.
Everton have made their own statement of intent be securing the services of Moise Kean from Juventus.
The Premier League has been such a closed shop over the past few seasons that it has been extremely difficult for anyone to break into the coveted top six. However, this summer’s transfer window has shown that the mid-table sides mean business.
West Ham are one of those sides. They were able to beat Manchester United and Arsenal at the London Stadium last season and will hope they can replicate those kind of performances on a more regular basis.