Pellegrini keen to slow Pool’s gallop

Manuel Pellegrini wants to get West Ham’s season back on course while at the same time doing his old club a favour.

West Ham host leaders Liverpool tonight desperate for a decent performance after three straight defeats.

Manchester City will be watching events at the London Stadium closely as they attempt to chase down the Reds, just as they did under Pellegrini in 2014 to claim the title.

“If we win I will be very happy for our club first, because we need a good performance against the leaders,” said Hammers boss Pellegrini.

“After that, if we can give a hand to Manchester City, it’s not our problem, but of course I am a fan of Manchester City also.”

However, Pellegrini feels Liverpool’s exit from both domestic cups will still give them an edge in the title race even if they come unstuck in east London.

The Chilean insists Tottenham – knocked out of both cups last week – also cannot be discounted.

“It’s more easy for the team that is involved in just two competitions compared to the team that is involved in four,” he added.

“Tottenham? You should never think that a team four or five points behind you are not involved in the title. Of course they are.

“City have to play the final of the Carabao Cup which will suspend a game. If they make the semi-final of the FA Cup they must suspend another game.

“They have midweek with the Champions League. So it’s not easy to compete in all the competitions.

“I talked about this four years ago. The major problem was that we were involved in all the competitions. We won one League Cup in that moment.

We then went out of the FA Cup in the quarter-final against Wigan. If we’d continued in that FA Cup, I don’t think we would have been able to play all the games. We didn’t have time to do it.

Jurgen Klopp’s side have lost just once this season and winger Xherdan Shaqiri recognises a winning mentality in the current squad he has seen before with Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich.

Shaqiri, who has two German league titles to his name, feels there is the necessary know-how present.

“I played in Germany and won titles there, so I have experience of it,” said the Switzerland international, who also won three championships with Basel.

“It has to be a winning mentality and the players need to be focused.

“The mentality is similar (here). You need to go into games trying to win them and to give everything to do that.

“I am pretty sure with the talent we have in the team we can achieve a lot.

“Now we need to keep going this hard until the end. To work hard in training, to take the training into the games and to keep going.

“There is a long way to go, but we are in a very, very good way to be successful.”

The midweek draw with Leicester was seen by some fans as a missed opportunity to stretch their advantage over City, who had lost at Newcastle the previous night.

However, Shaqiri insists that the players did not share the same concerns.

“Everything is good, so we will just keep going like this. We are looking forward to the next game on Monday, which is very important to win,” he told liverpoolfc.com.

“If we continue to stay focused at the highest level, I am confident we are going to [continue to] win games.”

Just when it appeared Klopp’s defensive headaches were easing more problems have arisen.

Virgil Van Dijk and Joel Matip are his only fit centre-backs as Dejan Lovren’s hamstring issue has recurred while a setback in Joe Gomez’s recovery from a broken leg is going to take several more weeks and could even require surgery.

“I don’t know. We will see. It is possible, probably,” said the Reds boss.

“It is not exactly going how we want, that’s how it is. He needs more time. We will see exactly how we do it.”

More on this topic

Klopp: Liverpool focused on Cardiff ahead of Barcelona Champions League clash

Liverpool set up Barcelona semi-final after easing past Porto

Jurgen Klopp laughs off ‘best team in the world’ tag from Porto counterpart

Anfield team-mates preferred watching Tiger than City – Robertson

More in this Section

Shane Lowry shooting low with new ‘weapons’

Waterford left reeling after Europa League ejection

‘If we give Leinster 44 points, it could be difficult’

Jonathan Sexton carries can for struggles up front


Lifestyle

Why our fashion editor relocated to Cork - and declared it the real fashion capital

Home delivery: The alternative to a hospital birth

Dig deep: Mind and body benefits of working in your garden

Life changing: Four women take a new direction in their 50s

More From The Irish Examiner