In Tray: The issues facing Manuel Pellegrini at West Ham
Former Manchester City boss takes over at the London Stadium.
Manuel Pellegrini has been named as the new West Ham manager on a three-year deal.
The 64-year-old Chilean replaces David Moyes, who guided the Hammers to a 13th-placed finish in the Premier League after taking on a short-term contract in November.
Here, Press Association Sport looks at four issues on the new man’s to-do list.
Marko Arnautovic was one of the major factors in West Ham obtaining Premier League survival with the Austria winger hitting form just in time. After an underwhelming start following his club-record transfer from Stoke last summer, Arnautovic finished the season with 11 goals and six assists to help ensure the Hammers, after a scare, were able to extend their six-year stay in the top flight. However, with good form comes big demand, and there is little doubt other clubs will be closely monitoring the former Inter Milan forward’s situation at the London Stadium.
Find a way to get the best out of Hernandez and Carroll
Arnautovic was the only West Ham player to reach double figures in goals this season, with Javier Hernandez and Andy Carroll – the team’s two main centre-forwards – managing only 11 between them during a disappointing campaign. Moyes experienced problems with Carroll but Pellegrini inherits a ready-made strikeforce which, if fit and firing, can pose problems for any Premier League defence. A big striker playing alongside a natural finisher has reaped dividends for many clubs down the years, and a Carroll-Hernandez partnership has the potential to be a lethal one for the Hammers if it can be made to work.
Make the London Stadium a fortress
The move from Upton Park to the converted Olympic Stadium was a bold one by the West Ham hierarchy but the motivations – and potential rewards – for a such a switch are clear to see. However, things have not gone smoothly to date, with disappointing returns on the pitch and fan unrest off it combined to make the stadium switch far more troubled than the club would have wanted or expected. West Ham only manged to win nine of their 21 competitive matches at the London Stadium last season, while losing to the likes of Burnley, Brighton and Newcastle, and one of Pellegrini’s chief objectives will be to try and ensure the Hammers home is a much happier place.
Entertain the fans
West Ham supporters are unlikely to look back on the 2017/18 campaign with any great fondness and some were not slow in showing their dissatisfaction. Not for the first time since moving grounds, crowd trouble was evident at the London Stadium and the new boss will be desperate to get everybody on side and pulling in the same direction. Arguably the best way to achieve that is to make West Ham an attractive – and winning – team. There is plenty of talent already on the club’s books and if Pellegrini gets some significant backing from the board in the transfer market, then the future could be promising for the east Londoners.