Manuel Pellegrini believes West Ham will really get their season underway when they take on Brighton at The Amex on Saturday. The Hammers were handed the toughest possible start to the new Premier League campaign as they welcomed champions Manchester City to the London Stadium and they were soundly beaten 5-0.
That leaves Pellegrini’s side bottom of the standings heading into their clash with the Seagulls, but the Chilean says they have already moved on from the loss to the Citizens and he feels their season will truly get underway this weekend.
“We made too many mistakes,” Pellegrini said. “We need to improve if we want to be a competitive team. We played 45 minutes of a very nice game against City.
“We must try to win the next game we’re playing. We are not thinking about our targets or achievements in May. One defeat does not change our minds. “We have a good squad and we must try to play better in the other games. We have just started the season now.”
A victory on Saturday would certainly stand the Hammers in good stead, as they have winnable games to come after that against Watford, Norwich and Aston Villa either side of the first international break of the season.
Indeed, Pellegrini’s side could be sitting in the upper reaches of the division come the middle of September and talk of them challenging for a top-six finish would not seem as farfetched as it perhaps did in the aftermath of last weekend’s heavy defeat.
However, West Ham don’t have the best record against Brighton, as they have only taken one point from their four previous Premier League meetings with the Seagulls and they have also lost on their two most recent visits to The Amex.
Indeed, the Hammers last win at Brighton came when both teams were in the Championship back in 2011, with Kevin Nolan scoring the only goal in a 1-0 win.
The current West Ham team will be boosted by the availability of injury-prone midfielder Jack Wilshere, with Pellegrini confirming the England international should feature on Saturday despite hobbling off with a reported thigh problem against City. “Jack is working without any problems in our squad,” Pellegrini added. “He’s working with our team. We don’t have any problem about that. He’s okay.”
Felipe Anderson is also expected to be fit despite a similar problem, although the game is likely to come too soon for deadline day signing Albian Ajeti, who is yet to get up to full speed following his arrival from Basel.