The Chilean’s team crashed out of the Carabao Cup to League One Oxford United on Wednesday, suffering a woeful 4-0 humiliation at the Kassam Stadium. Durham wasn’t impressed.
“I’m talking about people within the club, not the fans,” he said on talkSPORT [26/09; 16:15]. “They still think “we’re a small club”. They’re still fearing relegation.
“The mentality is: we can’t afford to be in domestic cups for long, so they get out of them as quickly as possible. At the back of their minds, they’re thinking ‘this competition doesn’t mean anything’. He [Pellegrini] hasn’t got the right mentality.”
This seems like an awfully reactionary statement from Durham… no shock there. Look, as much as the West Ham fans don’t like it, this sort of rotation from Premier League sides at this stage of the Carabao Cup is par for the course these days. This is the secondary cup competition in English football and Pellegrini’s team were going up against a third tier outfit. There’s no way that Pellegrini was thinking ‘I need to get out of this competition otherwise we’ll be in a relegation battle, I better make a load of changes’. That’s just ridiculous. Besides, this is pretty much the same team that the Chilean picked against Newport County in the last round of the competition. Nobody accused West Ham of having a small club mentality then. Why? Because they won. That’s the big thing, here. Almost all Premier League teams rotate at this stage of the Carabao Cup, but they’re only criticised when it doesn’t work. Does that mean they all have small club mentalities? No.