West Ham boss must take some blame after changes and subs against Blades
PUBLISHED: 15:30 28 October 2019
PA Wire/PA Images
Hammers manager Manuel Pellegrini made mistakes against Sheffield United
After the dismal showing at Everton last week, it was clear that manager Manuel Pellegrini was going to make changes for the Sheffield United clash.
However, there is shuffling the pack and there is making five changes which the boss did on Saturday and that seemed too many.
Pellegrini has escaped most of the criticism over the last few winless games, but not on Saturday, he was probably more to blame than the players.
Was it right to drop Ryan Fredericks and Angelo Ogbonna for two rusty players? They have been two of the better players, even in this recent tough run.
Added to that were two inexplicable substitutions. Felipe Anderson and goalscorer Robert Snodgrass were the two most effective players on the park.
They had looked dangerous throughout, but they were both replaced to bring on the out-of-sorts Manuel Lanzini and the young and inexperienced Pablo Fornals.
The experienced Chilean manager is a hugely successful one, but these were mistakes and in the end West Ham were lucky to get away with a point against a Sheffield United side who have been well coached by Chris Wilder.
West Ham still created chances. The excellent Andriy Yarmolenko shot inches wide late on, while Snodgrass almost scored at the far post.
But the Blades also had chances and a draw was probably the fairest result on the day.
So what did Pellegrini think about it?
"For us, it's a bad result, without any doubt, first because we are playing here at home and second because we had the options to decide the game when we were winning 1-0," he said...
"I think that with a little bit more accuracy in our finishing we could have decided it, but we didn't and after that they scored their goal and got a draw."
It was not quite as simple as that. Even before the Hammers had gone in front, it was Sheffield United who had got on top and Roberto had to make a fine double save to deny them.
Another effort flashed across the face of the goal, so it was a little against the run of play when West Ham went in front.
"We knew they were coming here to defend," said Pellegrini. "They just came with the counter-attack. They didn't create too many options.
"They had one cross in the first half and one chance from a corner which Roberto saved, but the rest of the game they didn't create other than their goal, which was a little bit strange."
Something of a blinkered view. Too many times the delivery from the flanks missed their targets, while Sebastien Haller was given hardly any service.
These are tough times for Pellegrini and his team and the critics are already gathering.
So what about those changes?
"I think the three of them played very well," insisted the boss.
"Pablo and Fabian in their defending and Robert scored the goal and worked a lot during the whole game, so I am happy for the three of them," he continued.
"Robert scored the goal and he is a player who gives a bit of bite to our team. We need to be more clinical to decide the game though, so we lost two more important points at home."
West Ham have a chance to redeem themselves next weekend when Newcastle are the visitors, but anything less than a good win and the boo-boys will be out in force once again.