West Ham fans are in for a feast of football under the stewardship of new coach Manuel Pellegrini. That’s the verdict from Pablo Zabaleta after the former Manchester City manager was handed the job of guiding the Hammers in the wake of the departure of David Moyes.
Moyes came in to the London Stadium and ensured the club retained their top-flight status but the hierarchy decided they were not going to hand him the task of taking the club forward.
And they duly appointed Pellegrini, who is, says defender Zabaleta, a man who can bring the very best out of his charges. The Argentine ace played for Pellegrini at City and knows all too well just how the new chief can motivate his players and instil the values that will ensure a stylish approach to the upcoming campaign.
Pellegrini, who also played under the Chilean manager when he was a 17 at Argentine outfit San Lorenzo, said: “Manuel Pellegrini is a very successful manager with great football experience, not just in England but in many different leagues. When I was a teenager with the San Lorenzo club in Buenos Aires, in Argentina, I was in the second team and he was the first-team manager.
“He did well when we were at San Lorenzo. He had success there, he built a good team, won the Primera Division title and set some records.
“After he left San Lorenzo he went to River Plate and won another title. He was always keen on youth development, too, bringing through good young players who went on to do very well.
“He went to Spain with Villarreal and did a great job, taking them to the Champions League semi-finals. I played against his teams many times when I was with Espanyol and they were very tough opponents.
“He did well at Real Madrid and Malaga, then he came to Manchester City, where we worked together for three seasons and won the Premier League title and some other big competitions.
“He’s a very quiet person, but he is also very determined and very strong in his belief about how football should be played. He likes to play good, attractive football, and he plays to win, which the fans of all the clubs he has managed have always enjoyed.
“He has always been a good manager and I am sure he will show that again with West Ham. I welcome him to the Club and wish him good luck.”
Zabaleta isn’t the only player who is eager for the chance to work under the new coach. Skipper Mark Noble says, as captain, he is looking forward to welcoming the new manager to the club.
He said: “I’m sure I’ll have a chat with him before then and I’ll definitely give him the lowdown on West Ham and what the club means to its supporters, although I am sure he has already done his own homework and knows plenty about our traditions.
“He will be looking to the future, too, and I’m sure he will bring in his own staff and we will be linked to lots of potential new signings over the next few weeks!”