Phil Thompson claimed that West Ham in seasons gone by would have lost to Aston Villa after going down to 10-men.
Hammers defender Arthur Masuaku left his teammates with a battle on their hands to earn a point against the Villans at Villa Park on Monday after receiving a debatable red card in the 67th minute of the game.
However, the Sky Sports pundit rightly pointed out that the Hammers became a more organised unit after the left-back left the pitch and unlike previous seasons didn’t give up the ghost after a set-back.
“In seasons gone by, going down to 10-men, a West Ham side away from home would have capitulated to quote Merse,” said Thompson on Soccer Saturday (Sky Sports News, 13:32, Saturday, September 21st).
“But they dug in, that showed me that they’re something different, they actually looked better with 10-men.
“They were well organised, they had to get better organised as they were down a man but…”
Thompson claimed the Hammers’ latest display proved they were something different than before, and surely that claim proves that Manuel Pellegrini deserves credit for the job he has done since arriving at the London Stadium.
In the 2017/18 season ahead of Pellegrini arrival, which saw Slaven Billic and David Moyes had stints in charge, the Hammers ended their league campaign 13th but noticeably conceded 68 goals.
During Pellegrini’s first league campaign in charge of the Hammers, West Ham conceded 55 goals in 38 games, which is an improvement if still not great, to finish 10th in the table.
However, with a little more time with the team, Pellegrini is clearly having an impact and building a team that don’t ship goals needlessly when things go against them.
The Hammers have conceded seven goals in five outings, but considering five of those goals all came at the hands of Man City, then it suggests that Pellegrini has got the London club in order at the back and that they’re a much-improved side under his guidance.