West Ham boss aims for big win at Manchester United as Euro vision fades
PUBLISHED: 13:30 12 April 2019 | UPDATED: 14:17 12 April 2019
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Hammers will have Zabaleta and Antonio back in the squad for trip to Old Trafford
After two defeats on the trot and no goals to show for their efforts, West Ham will look to resurrect their fading European hopes at Old Trafford tomorrow evening.
The Hammers are down in 11th after losses to Everton and Chelsea, but boss Manuel Pellegrini has not given up hope just yet.
“We have lost a couple of games, but we are just five points away from the European places,” insisted the Hammers manager at his pre-match press conference yesterday (Thursday).
“Man United will be a difficult game, but if we can win, it will give the players a good boost.”
West Ham will go into tomorrow’s game with Pablo Zabaleta and Michail Antonio back in the squad after they missed the trip to Stamford Bridge, but midfield man Jack Wilshere is not ready quite yet.
“Jack played for the under-23s and he will play another game with them and then he will be able to join up with the rest of the squad,” confirmed Pellegrini.
“Pablo was fit for the last game. He has a small pain in his back, but he can play without a problem.
“Against Chelsea it was not good for him to play again. He has played so many games this season with Fredericks injured for three months after breaking his ankle.
“Pablo is 100 per cent fit, but Samir Nasri will not play. Michail Antonio had a small problem and missed Chelsea, but now he is fit.”
The manager will be looking to work out just why his team have been starting so badly in the last few weeks.
Against Chelsea they were poor in the first half, before finding their feet after the break and going close to getting something from the game.
“First of all, it is Chelsea away, it is not an easy team,” he reflected.
“I reviewed the game and I think in the first 20 minutes, Chelsea didn’t create any chances also. We defended well, but we were losing the ball too easily so we could not create one chance on their goal.
“They did create chances in the last 20 minutes of the half, including the goal, but I think that was a beautiful goal for Hazard, though we could defend it better.”
Pellegrini confirmed that Andy Carroll had undergone surgery on his ankle, while there is a chance that Carlos Sanchez and Andriy Yarmolenko could join up with the team for training in the next week or so.
The manager wants to battle until the end. “I always demand more from everyone,” he said. “That is why I want to finish as high as possible, but I think we have had a successful season.
“We are not fighting against relegation and we have had an average of six players injured per game, so it has not been easy.”
Tomorrow’s match starts at 5.30pm.