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Manuel Pellegrini press conference on Newcastle match, Rafa Benitez and West Ham injury situation

10 months ago
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Manuel Pellegrini has met the media ahead of West Ham’s trip to St James Park,

After only one win on Tyneside since 1998, the Hammers boss says he can’t change what has gone before but hopes the West Ham fans will be able to enjoy this game.

Pellegrini has confirmed that Mark Arnautovic can definitely play on Saturday, whilst Jack Wilshere and Andy Carroll should make the bench.

However, Carroll hasn’t played any minutes for the first team this season Wilshere not in the past three months, so next to no change of anything more than a place on the bench for that pair.

Manuel Pellegrini declares that Rafa Benitez is a ‘very good manager’ and points to his track record as evidence of that.

With only one win since September the Hammers have dropped down the table but he believes this is not a ‘crucial’ match for either  side, rather it is a ‘test’ to point to how the can both do this season.

The visiting manager also suggests that Newcastle were in a bit of a false position in the opening stages of the season and that 13th and rising is more reflective of the ability of this Newcastle team/squad.

Manuel Pellegrini press conference pre-Newcastle United via the official Hammers site:

“We need to play 24 games after Saturday, so it’s not a crucial match for both teams. It’s a test for what we can do this season.

“Momentum is always important to teams and they have trust at this moment because they are winning.

“Every game is different and things change so quickly in football so you are never sure how the match will turn out.

“It (only one win at St James Park since 1998) is not something that worries me too much. Statistics can change. We have the mentality to win against every team and we go there to play well from the first minute until the last.

“I hope our fans can enjoy this Saturday if we can win that game. I can’t change what happened before!

“Newcastle have a good team so maybe their position in the table at this moment is more real than what happened at the beginning of the season.

“I know Rafa. We worked in Spain and before that he was here in England. I think he has had a great career.

“He has managed important teams in different countries, in England, Spain and Italy, so I think he’s a very good manager.”

Injury situation?:

“Marko Arnautovic worked the whole week without any problems. He has one day more to recover for the game, but he’s OK. Marko is fit to play.

“Andy Carroll is one step further forward than Wilshere because he played 45 minutes in the game against Brentford and he was on the bench last week. Both worked without problems this week so may be in the squad on Saturday.

“The rest of the injuries are all long injuries, so we have no new news about Lanzini, Sanchez or Fredericks.

“Unfortunately we have just one right full-back. It’s impossible for Pablo, at his age, to play seven games in December, so we’ll see what we will do in that position because we will be without Ryan which is a very serious thing.

“First we have to win at Newcastle and we are working during the week with different players because, I repeat, Pablo cannot play seven games in December.

“It’s very difficult. We play a lot of games this month and when you bring in players like Yarmolenko, Fredericks and Sanchez and they are out for months and you also suffer injuries to Carroll and Wilshere, who we brought in to be our creative midfield, so we don’t have a big squad.

“We hope to have a stronger squad at this stage of the season with some players coming back.”

Losing 4-0 at home to Manchester City last Saturday:

“We work every week, it doesn’t matter against who we play, to improve our performance. We will try to improve, not only in defending.

“When you make a mistake as a goalkeeper or a centre-back, it can be a goal. Everyone has a responsibility to defend well, though.

“When we finished the game against Man City, they created six chances and scored four goals, but we created six chances and didn’t score, and had eight corners to one.”

Extra pressure because December full of ‘winnable matches?

“The pressure is always exactly the same. I never think that we can lose. We always try to win. We did very good games against big teams and didn’t play so well against the teams you say we can beat.

 “You have to have a strong mind. Every game in the Premier League is difficult and two or three chances can change the score.

“Our mentality is to understand that there are no weaker teams and we have to play our best to get the results we need.”

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