Manuel Pellegrini has acknowledged West Ham’s home form must improve if they are to pull away from the threat of relegation, with two fixtures at the London Stadium in the space of five days that could define the 66-year-old’s future.
The defeat against Crystal Palace on Saturday was West Ham’s ninth of the season in the Premier League and has left the east London club perilously close to the bottom three in the leadup to Leicester’s visit on Saturday.
With fellow strugglers Bournemouth up next on New Year’s Day, Pellegrini admitted it is imperative his side return to winning ways at the London Stadium having failed to record a victory there in the Premier League since beating Manchester United in September.
“We need to improve because we lost too many points at home – I think it’s just one in the last five games,” he said. “We now have to play two games in a row and we hope that we can start by beating Leicester. We know it’s a difficult game against a good team but I think that our team at the moment is not playing bad, but we must me more concentrated on defending.”
Pellegrini’s immediate future is not understood to be in doubt, although with just one point separating West Ham from Aston Villa in 18th position there is every chance they could have dropped into the bottom three by the time they face Bournemouth. Should they lose both games then the expectation is that the former Manchester City manager will be sacked, with David Moyes believed to have been lined up as his replacement after previously stepping in to replace Slaven Bilic in November 2017.
Pellegrini must decide whether to risk a recall for the Poland goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski to face Leicester after three months out with a hip injury having selected Roberto against Palace.
“We will see which players are able to play without resting less than 48 hours,” he said. “We’ll see how Lukas Fabianski is but we will also must study and be very clear which can be the best starting 11.”