Ex-West Ham midfielder Gary O’Neil suggested that Manuel Pellegrini wasn’t getting enough out of the Hammers’ squad and stated that he didn’t think the players understood what their manager wanted.
The 36-year-old based his opinion on the Hammers’ performance in the 3-0 loss to Burnley on Saturday and he didn’t seem to be able to work out what Pellegrini’s game plan was either.
“We need to start asking questions of Pellegrini as he’s not getting enough out of the squad of players for me,” said O’Neil on talkSPORT as seen in a clip uploaded to the station’s Twitter account.
“There seems to be…a performance like that…suggests there’s a problem, that they’re not fully understanding…it looked like they didn’t know what they were doing so that means they’re not fully understanding what he wants from them.
“I didn’t understand what the tactical approach to the game was, they weren’t trying to dominate the ball, they weren’t physical, they weren’t trying to play the ball forward, I just didn’t see the gameplan”
If Pellegrini hears this verdict than alarm bells surely should be ringing for him as O’Neil clearly thinks the Hammers’ poor run of form is directly down to the experienced manager.
Pellegrini’s side haven’t won any of their last six league games and have suffered four defeats in the process, including a 3-0 loss to Newcastle United who previously couldn’t seem to hit a barn door ahead of the game.
And if the ex-Hammer believes players don’t know what they’re doing on the pitch, with most of them having played under Pellegrini for more than a year now, then it doesn’t sound like he’ll be able to fix the problem.
As if they’re not understanding what Pellegrini wants from them after all this time, then why will it suddenly start clicking for them in the coming weeks.
The Hammers manager previously had his team racking up good results and performances with the same style of play, so it’s not like he is going to consider making drastic changes to his philosophy anytime soon.
Also, the other reason why alarm bells will ring for Pellegrini over O’Neil’s remarks is that his opinion doesn’t exactly work against the stats from the loss to Burnley.
The Hammers were swept aside by Sean Dyche’s side, but it’s worth noting they ended the game with 60% possession, as per WhoScored, so they did see enough of the ball to influence the game, and the fact the team didn’t, could be down to them being confused by how Pellegrini wanted to play and being on a different wavelength with each other.
So with that in mind, the Hammers boss should hope that O’Neil isn’t right with his theory for the club’s slump as the obvious way to cure it would be to get rid of him.