Belfast Telegraph

Pellegrini warns West Ham against ‘big mistake’ at out-of-form Watford

West Ham face a Hornets side on a poor run of Premier League results.

Manuel Pellegrini has warned his West Ham squad that they will face a tough match at Watford (Adam Davy/PA)
Manuel Pellegrini has warned his West Ham squad that they will face a tough match at Watford (Adam Davy/PA)

By Philip Duncan, PA

Manuel Pellegrini has warned his West Ham squad that they will be making a big mistake by banking on a victory against struggling Watford.

The Hammers will head to Vicarage Road to face a Hornets side who have failed to score a goal or secure a point from their opening two matches.

Javi Gracia’s men are on a five-match losing streak in the league, extending back to last season, and will be without Troy Deeney following his minor knee operation earlier this week.

West Ham are also without a win, losing on the opening weekend to Manchester City and drawing at Brighton last Saturday.

“If we base our chances in this match on Watford’s form then we are going to make a very big mistake,” said Hammers boss Pellegrini.

“Football changes in every game, so if we want to win or try to be a competitive team, we need to play well in defending, we need to be a creative team in attacking.

“It’s more important to think about our side. West Ham must not be compared with another team. We must try to win the games. It doesn’t matter who we play.

“We beat Watford last season in the last game we played away from home, and I hope we can repeat that on Saturday.”

Pellegrini will welcome back Mark Noble for Saturday’s clash at Vicarage Road.

The 32-year-old has missed his side’s opening two games with a calf problem, but he returned to training this week and will be pushing for a place in Pellegrini’s starting line-up.

The match against Watford will mark the 15th anniversary of Noble’s professional debut, a League Cup first-round victory against Southend at Upton Park.

Writing in his London Evening Standard column, Noble, who has gone on to play 467 times for West Ham, wrote: “Does it seem 15 years ago [that I made my debut]? No, longer to be honest.

“If you had said to me when I was 14 that I could play just one game in the Premier League, I would have taken it like a shot.

“To accumulate almost 500 games in a decade and a half means I’m averaging more than 30 per season and I’m proud of that.

“Many top midfielders have been bought by the club during those years, yet my mentality has never changed. I’ve always thought, ‘If fit, I’m playing every week, there’s no way I am letting anyone else take this shirt’.

“I’m 32 now but I still get nervous before every training session and that’s because I want to be the best player out there. I’ll have that attitude until my final game as a player and I suppose it’s a fear of failure which drives me on.”

PA

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