Football News

Pellegrini admits he is “worried” about West Ham’s defence ahead of Premier League opener

By Steve Jennings

Published: 17:44, 6 August 2019

Manuel Pellegrini has admitted he is “a little bit worried” about the number of goals West Ham have conceded in pre-season ahead of their Premier League curtain-raiser against Manchester City.

The Hammers scored 12 goals across their six pre-season games but conceded 12, too, which is a source of concern for Pellegrini as he prepares his team to face his former club.

West Ham’s pre-season: Five key things to know…

  • West Ham secured victories over Rheindorf Altach, Fulham and Hertha Berlin during pre-season.
  • However, they were defeated by Newcastle, Man City and, finally, Athletic Bilbao on penalties.
  • Their 5-3 win over Hertha represented a pre-season of promising attacking but worrying defending.
  • The Hammers conceded 55 Premier League goals last season, more than any other top-half side.
  • Pellegrini’s men welcome champions Manchester City to the London Stadium on Saturday.

Pellegrini led West Ham to a top-half finish last season despite a disastrous start in which they lost their first four games of the campaign.

The Londoners won their final three matches of the season and will be looking to carry that form into 2019/20, but Pellegrini admits he is concerned about his team’s defending.

“We finished the pre-season games and now we have one week more where we must see all the different details that we must improve before we play against Manchester City,” Pellegrini told the club’s official website.

“I think that was a good pre-season with good rivals, all of them important teams, and I think we had good moments and bad moments, as is normal in this part of the season.

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“I am very happy with the amount of goals we are scoring, but a little bit worried about the amount of goals we are conceding.

“For me, the most important thing is the way we are getting forward and I am sure the fans will enjoy the way we play, but we must be more concentrated and work hard in defending because football is not just attacking. I hope in the next week we will become a more aggressive team when we don’t have the ball.

“I see that we have a team that can win against any team and lose against anyone else! That’s why the Premier League is so tight. In every game, you must be so concentrated and you cannot concede easy goals.

“I’m happy with the squad but after that, the target of the season we must demonstrate in every game.”

All nine of the teams that finished above West Ham last season conceded fewer goals, which perhaps explains why they missed out on European football.

But Pellegrini insists the aim is to improve on last term with a little help from the supporters.

He added: “Of course, this is my second season and I hope we are going to improve what we did last year. I think that last season we grew a very big step, especially the relationship between the fans, the stadium and the team, and I think that is absolutely linked with the way we play.

“I hope we will have the same support from the fans. We always have 60,000 people behind our team every time we play here at London Stadium. I hope that we can have a brilliant season and they can enjoy it.”