West Ham hit by injury crisis as they look to respond to Watford defeat against a rejuvenated Southampton
- Manuel Pellegrini faces a selection dilemma as West Ham suffer an injury crisis
- The Hammers are struggling with injury ahead of facing a revived Southampton
- Pellegrini wants a reaction from his players after defeat to Watford on Saturday
Manuel Pellegrini would have happily taken West Ham’s current position in the Premier League, had it been offered to him after they started the season with four successive losses.
The Hammers arrive at the halfway mark in mid-table and Pellegrini says his players showed character to bounce back from their poor run of results in August and September.
On Thursday night at the St Mary’s Stadium they face a rejuvenated Southampton who have won their last two games after Ralph Hasenhuttl replaced Mark Hughes as manager.
Manuel Pellegrini is facing an injury crisis as he prepares his West Ham side for Southampton
The squad are entering the festive period of games with a mounting list of first team injuries
West Ham lost to Watford in their final fixture before Christmas and want to stay closer to the top of the table rather than those battling relegation at the bottom.
‘If you tell me after we lost four games that we can finish with 27 points, I’d think that would be a good first round for us,’ Pellegrini said following their 2-0 home defeat on Saturday.
‘We know we have to play a good game against a team that have won their last two games. 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.’
Marko Arnautovic is fighting to be fit following hamstring issues but it remains to be seen whether he will be included in the squad for the game against Southampton.
‘We need to play a lot of games in December,’ Pellegrini continued. ‘Seven games, then after that six more in January. Unfortunately for us we have eight players without the option to return soon.
‘Maybe Marko Arnautovic can – I don’t know about against Southampton, but soon.’
Javier Hernandez is the latest to be struggling after he collected a hamstring strain vs Watford
Pellegrini has other problems with striker Javier Hernandez and influential defender Fabian Balbuena, their £4million bargain buy from the summer, struggling from hamstring and knee injuries respectively.
‘We need now to see about the other two players, Chicharito and Balbuena,’ Pellegrini said. ‘So that is a big problem but we need to trust the squad and try to make a good rotation.
‘Javier had a kick in his back during the week. He couldn’t work. Now in this game (against Watford) he had the same problem with some strain in his hamstring.’