(Reuters) – West Ham United have the squad they need to compete in the Premier League despite a crushing defeat in their opening match but must focus on improving their style of play rather than worrying about long-term goals, manager Manuel Pellegrini said on Thursday.
The London club spent close to 73 million pounds on new recruits in the close season as the Chilean manager looks to improve on their 10th-place finish last season.
Despite losing 5-0 to champions Manchester City last weekend, Pellegrini said he wants to build on their first half performance where they started confidently and conceded only one goal.
“It wasn’t easy in the first season but now I think we have the squad we wanted,” Pellegrini told reporters ahead of Saturday’s league trip to Brighton & Hove Albion.
“We’re not talking about European spots, we are focussing on the way we are playing. We must be consistent in our style. All the preparation, or the most part of it, is in the way we can improve our style of playing.
“We need to improve if we want to be a competitive team. We played 45 minutes of a very nice game against City. We are not thinking about our targets or achievements in May, one defeat does not change our minds.”
West Ham have never beaten Brighton in the top flight, losing on all four occasions, and Pellegrini praised the south coast club who won their season opener 3-0 at Watford and look a different outfit under new boss Graham Potter.
“I think they started the season very well, with a clear style of playing under the new manager,” Pellegrini added. “Their stadium makes them a difficult team. We are conscious we must play with a high pace if we want to win.
“As a manager, I know Graham Potter was at Swansea (City) and he was a professional player. The way he’s started at Brighton, he will be a good manager.”
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; editing by Tony Lawrence)