West Ham United manager Manuel Pellegrini doesn’t really have much to hang his hat on right now. He can’t take much pride in the job he’s doing at the London Stadium, that’s for sure.
He has steered his team into a terrible run of form where they haven’t tasted victory for eight games in a row now. However, Saturday’s 3-2 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur – while an awful team display – did provide one bright spark for the Chilean.
The return of versatile winger Michail Antonio off the bench was a sight for sore eyes, and Pellegrini will surely have been overjoyed at the performance the 29-year-old delivered.
The Englishman scored the Hammers’ first goal, entirely against the run of play, and did his utmost to try and drag his teammates from the malaise they were in against Jose Mourinho’s side.
It helped that Pellegrini played him up top, just off striker Sebastien Haller, and credit to him for that. The Frenchman has been massively isolated this campaign, but Antonio can help with that somewhat, as we saw on Saturday.
In 45 minutes the former Nottingham Forest man did more than any of his teammates managed in 90. The statistics demonstrate as much. As per WhoScored.com, Antonio had three shots – the second most of any West Ham player – and two of them were on target, more than any Hammer.
He also managed a key pass and three successful dribbles, while he was fouled three times as well. His WhoScored rating of 7.76 was the best of any Irons star, despite only being on the pitch for half the game.
It would be no surprise if Pellegrini was thinking ‘this guy can keep me in a job’. Antonio certainly made the difference against Spurs, but whether he can manage that monumental task remains to be seen.