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Premier League champ Pellegrini looks to make mark on West Ham

PUBLISHED: 10:30 10 August 2018

West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini during a pre season friendly match at Banks' Stadium, Walsall.

West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini during a pre season friendly match at Banks' Stadium, Walsall.

PA Wire/PA Images

Can Manuel haul the Hammers into the big time?

West Ham United manager Manuel Pellegrini during a press conference at the London Stadium, London.West Ham United manager Manuel Pellegrini during a press conference at the London Stadium, London.

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola was rightly lauded a fantastic manager after guiding his team to Premier League and Carabao Cup glory last season.

But when Manuel Pellegrini was in charge at the Etihad back in 2013, he managed the same feat with perhaps more impressive statistics.

In his first campaign, City won the Premier League title and the League Cup and scored a sensational 151 goals along the way, including six in that memorable cup semi-final against the shell-shocked Hammers.

So perhaps the biggest surprise at the London Stadium over the summer was Pellegrini’s decision to come to West Ham.

Manuel Pellegrini in AustriaManuel Pellegrini in Austria

The Chilean has been a colossus of a boss pretty much wherever he has been, winning titles in four different countries.

So why choose West Ham with all the board interference and supporter unrest at the club?

“David Sullivan convinced me that he was giving all the responsibility and possibilities to me,” said Pellegrini as he was introduced to the press.

“It is very important for me to know from the beginning what type of club I was coming to and what my position would be.

File photo dated 11-05-2014 of Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini holds the Premier League TrophyFile photo dated 11-05-2014 of Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini holds the Premier League Trophy

“He asked me to bring a sporting director who he would support all of the way.”

So far, Sullivan seems to have been true to his word. The board have splashed the cash to the tune of nearly £100million and Pellegrini insists they are all his choices.

“All the signings are mine and there has been no influence from the club,” stressed the boss.

“If the club want a player and I also like him then I have no problem with that.”

Pellegrini could have had his pick of clubs all over Europe when he decided to leave China, so it is a huge coup that a man with such experience and success opted for East London.

In his time at Villareal, he finished second in La Liga, splitting the big two and also made the semi-finals of the Champions League.

Things did not go to plan at Real Madrid, and although he did manage a record points score at the time of 96, he was dismissed after one campaign.

At Malaga he took them to the quarter-final of the Champions League in their first season in the competition as well as fourth in La Liga.

And then came Man City. So while Guardiola is heralded as a genius, did the Chilean feel underappreciated?

He shakes his head, adding: “I think I received all the praise that I needed, I don’t need too much praise.

“When I arrived at Man City I heard it was between me and Guardiola. I came for three years, I won the Premier League and the cup twice. I was the most scoring in a season, so I was happy with my time there.”

Winning will be vital for Pellegrini when the season starts, but there is also the question of how they play – the famous West Ham way!

He seems to know all about it.

“No-one had to tell me because I know what West Ham is,” he said. “I think one of the most important things is for every club and not just West Ham to have their own style of football and with every style you can win trophies.

“For West Ham there is an attacking tradition and David Sullivan thought that my teams played in that way and was happy to trust me to do what I did in my past career. I always try to play attacking football.”

That will be music to the ears of West Ham fans who not only want to see a winning team, but also want to see their team play with a swagger.

That will be the plan for Pellegrini and it is a job he has succeeded at before.

“When I arrived at Villareal, things were not so good and at Malaga they were fighting relegation, so they were big projects,” he said.

“I hope we can do the same here and I’m sure the fans will support the club because they can see that something is changing here.”

Something certainly is changing. The fans never warmed to Sam Allardyce or David Moyes, but they have already embraced Pellegrini. And with the board spending some big money, even they have escaped the criticism.

Here’s to an excellent season!

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