WHICH WAY HAMMERS?

West Ham must improve at set-pieces, says Pellegrini

Pellegrini’s side have not kept a clean sheet since a 2-0 win over Manchester United

In Summary

•West Ham, who were fifth in September, have failed to win their last five matches —which included three defeats —to leave them 13th in the standings.

•Pellegrini also said West Ham had ambitions of playing in Europe and their priority was a top-six finish.

 

West Ham United's Sebastien Haller in action with Newcastle United's Allan Saint-Maximin inrecent duel
West Ham United's Sebastien Haller in action with Newcastle United's Allan Saint-Maximin inrecent duel
Image: REUTERS

West Ham United must defend set-pieces better after conceding a number of goals in a winless run stretching back to September, manager Manuel Pellegrini said.

West Ham, who were fifth in September, have failed to win their last five matches —which included three defeats —to leave them 13th in the standings.

Pellegrini’s side have not kept a clean sheet since a 2-0 win over Manchester United, with first-choice goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski not expected to return from a hip muscle injury until late December.

“Everyone must do better, including the manager and the players,” Pellegrini told reporters ahead of Saturday’s trip to Burnley.

“As a team, I think that we need to improve, especially at set-pieces. They have been decisive - three goals from Newcastle, two from Crystal Palace.

“I think that Newcastle scored three goals from set-pieces, two from a counter-attack from set-pieces. They had chances on the counter-attack because for different reasons we didn’t keep a player back.”

Pellegrini, who won the Premier League title in 2013-14 with Manchester City, also said West Ham had ambitions of playing in Europe and their priority was a top-six finish.

“The target for West Ham years ago was not to be relegated,” he added. “I didn’t come here for that. I think that we have the players to achieve top six and I think that if you fight you can win every game. We know how to do it.

“I always try to be optimistic, I always try to set my targets as high as I can. We must fight to be in the upper part of the table.”

Burnley, who are 14th, can leapfrog West Ham with a win today and Pellegrini said he was wary of their physical threat in the air.