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Pellegrini Is Looking To Build On What He’s Accomplished But He Must Take Heed Of Past Mistakes

Manuel Pellegrini

West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini believes the work that the club will do over the next few weeks will have a huge bearing on the team’s success next season.

The Chilean’s first campaign has been erratic, to say the least, with some excellent wins against Arsenal and Manchester United, coupled with some wretched displays against the likes of Everton and Cardiff.

A top ten finish for the first time in four seasons is very much on the cards if the Hammers finish the season with a win against Watford on Sunday, but Pellegrini says the planning for his second season is very much underway:

“As a manager, I think 80 per cent of the success you have in a season is in the work you do on your squad in this period of the year.”

“We need to talk, we need to see the different options and see the players who will maybe not continue [with us] but, first of all, I want us to finish with Watford with three more points and to improve because we can still finish in the top ten.”

Reports suggest that the club are eyeing between four and six signings this summer, with at least seven heading for the exit door. Changes are certainly required but ensuring there is no major upheaval should be a key priority.

Building team spirit is absolutely essential for a successful team. You only have to look at Liverpool’s extraordinary 4-0 win against Barcelona last night as a testament to that.

It’s very hard to generate that level of unity and togetherness if the squad is constantly changing season to season. Pellegrini made ten signings last summer and offloaded five.

Of course, due to poor performances, major changes were certainly needed last summer, but after finishing the season in good form, the focus should be on consolidating the gains and building a group of players that can play together for the medium to long term.

Footballers are human beings and the constant turnover of players can be extremely disruptive. Creating an understanding on the pitch, and developing camaraderie and personal relationships off the pitch are all key to team building.

Slaven Bilic’s last season in charge is a stark reminder of what can go wrong when huge changes combined with poor recruitment decisions can impact morale. His side finished 11th in the 2016/17 campaign with 45 points before an awful third season.

Pellegrini has four more points heading into the final game and while the situations are not that similar in that rather than form dropping off, this current Hammers side is finishing strongly, Pellegrini and sporting director Mario Husillos should take heed of past mistakes.

The best way to long term success for any team is through small, incremental changes to the squad while maintaining a core group of players. There is a lot of good that has come out of this season, as well as some bad, and Pellegrini would be wise to concentrate on the positives and refrain from another major overhaul.