West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini pinpoints squad’s key issue

This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…

Manuel Pellegrini has identified West Ham’s problem area as their defence ahead of the 2019/20 season, per the club’s official website.

What’s he said?

The Irons boss will aim to upset his former club on Saturday as the club take on Manchester City at the London Stadium.

The game comes after a difficult pre-season in which the club have conceded 12 goals in six fixtures.

And Pellegrini has identified the defence as the main area in need of improvement ahead of the big kick-off.

He said: “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.”

Premiership Picks

Can’t win 4-3

West Ham can’t simply win 4-3 in every game.

As it stands, they have been allowing far too many shots on their goal, conceding twice against SCR Altach, three times against Hertha Berlin and four times against Manchester City.

That does not bode well heading into the season and, really, the Irons have their manager to blame as much as the central defenders on the pitch.

If he is unable to construct a strategy in which the Irons are solid at the back, then he will deserve just as much criticism as Issa Diop and Fabian Balbuena for goals conceded.

The real test is not this weekend – City are expected to win – but in the following three matches, against Brighton, Watford and Norwich City.

Keep conceding goals at the current rate against those three and Pellegrini and the Irons will be in trouble.

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