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Thursday 17 October 2019

Hammers aiming for win despite injury crisis

INJURIES: Manuel Pellegrini. Photo: Reuters
INJURIES: Manuel Pellegrini. Photo: Reuters

Manuel Pellegrini has urged West Ham to shrug off their injury crisis and get back to winning ways at Southampton.

Hammers boss Pellegrini is set to be without 10 players when they travel to the south coast this evening.

Fabian Balbuena and Javier Hernandez were injured during Saturday's 2-0 defeat by Watford to join Lucas Perez, Marko Arnautovic, Jack Wilshere, Andriy Yarmolenko, Manuel Lanzini, Ryan Fredericks, Carlos Sanchez and Winston Reid on the casualty list.

But Pellegrini maintains he has a squad capable of bouncing back at St Mary's and marking the halfway stage of the season with a victory.

"We need to play a lot of games in December, seven games, then after that six more in January," he said.

"Unfortunately for us we have eight players without the option to return soon. Maybe Marko Arnautovic can be, I don't know about against Southampton, but soon.

"We need to see about the other two, Hernandez and Balbuena. So that's a big problem, but we need to trust the squad and try to make a good rotation.

"We have the last game of the first part of the season and if you told me after we lost our first four games that we can finish with 27 points, I'd think that would be a good first round for us.

Recover

"We know we have to play a good game against a team that have won their last two matches.

"We will try to recover the points that we lost at home. We will try to add three points more to get to 27. This squad demonstrated already that we have the character to improve after that slow start.

"We now try to think in the next game that we will be able to do it. We don't have any doubts about that."

Andy Carroll, who has made four substitute appearances since returning from ankle surgery, is likely to start his first match of the season in attack.

Meanwhile, Ralph Hasenhuttl has warned his Southampton side the hard work has only just started.

Consecutive wins over Arsenal and Huddersfield have lifted the side out of the relegation zone and three points clear of the bottom three, allowing Saints fans to look up rather than down.

Hasenhuttl said: "They showed they learned now to defend. That's the first step in the right direction. What you also saw is that we have quality when we win the ball.

"We scored three times against Arsenal and also three times against (Huddersfield), a team that is really good at defending normally with a good reverse gear.

"When we work like we did until now, then we have a chance to stay (up). But if you stop now, we have 15 points now, and that wouldn't be enough."

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