(Reuters) – West Ham United manager Manuel Pellegrini has said the Premier League club must first improve their defending if they are to fully embrace his attacking philosophy.
The London club conceded 68 goals last season, the joint highest alongside relegated Stoke City. Pellegrini, who took charge of the club in May, said his priority was to stem the flow of goals and achieve balance between attack and defence.
“Last season, they had one of the worst defences in the league, so this year we’ll try and be balanced while always thinking that we want to score one goal more than the opposition,” Pellegrini told the club website.
West Ham’s resolve could be tested in their opening league match at Liverpool on Sunday.
Juergen Klopp’s side scored 84 goals last season, behind only champions Manchester City (106) and have shown no signs of stepping off the gas in pre-season, scoring 27 goals in nine matches.
“In the Premier League, you never know which is the most difficult game,” Pellegrini added.
“To play away to Liverpool to start the season is a very strong team who played in the Champions League final last season and also fighting for the league title is difficult.”
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)