West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini has stressed the importance of getting back to winning ways as his side prepare to face Tottenham in what will be Jose Mourinho’s first game in charge of his new club.
The Hammers go into Saturday’s clash at the London Stadium without a win since a 2-0 victory over Mourinho’s former club Manchester United on September 22.
Since then, West Ham have lost five and drawn twice, crashing out of the Carabao Cup at the hands of League One Oxford and dropping down to 16th in the Premier League table.
However, Pellegrini says the international break has been “good for us” and hopes to see that reflected on the pitch against their London rivals this weekend.
“I trust a lot in the players because I know they have demonstrated a lot of times they can do it against big teams,” the Chilean said.
“I think that this international break was good for us, maybe we had time to talk a lot of things with the players.
“So I hope that especially in a derby game – we know that for our fans it’s the most important game of the season playing against Tottenham at home – so I hope that tomorrow we see the West Ham that we saw at the beginning of the season.”
West Ham had started the campaign in promising fashion, recovering from their 5-0 home mauling at the hands of Manchester City with an unbeaten six-match run in league and cup that brought four victories.
When asked about the drop in form, Pellegrini said: “It was very unexpected. We started the season very good, playing good and for different reasons we must find out why we didn’t continue playing the same way and winning games.
“The table is very tight, we must try to recover our performance as individuals and as a team and I hope this will be a good game to return to winning ways.”
The Hammers’ poor run has coincided with the loss of Lukasz Fabianski, who tore a hip muscle during his side’s draw against Bournemouth on September 28, and second-choice goalkeeper Roberto has not kept a clean sheet since he stepped in for the Poland international.
Pellegrini urged the fans and players to trust in Roberto, saying: “Every player when they are in bad moments needs the support of the fans behind them, especially in a special position like goalkeeper.
“Roberto has a lot of experience, in different countries. He knows maybe he is not playing his best performance but all of us, the fans, the staff and players, must trust in him.”
The Hammers boss said that both Michail Antonio and captain Mark Noble will be available for the Spurs match.
Antonio has been out since he sustained a hamstring injury against Newport in September, while Noble twisted an ankle during the 3-0 defeat at Burnley before the international break.