Manuel Pellegrini believes there is plenty for West Ham United fans to be optimistic about this season, despite another opening day thrashing.
Champions Manchester City were at their ruthless best at the London Stadium to secure a 5-0 win and make it the third season in succession the Hammers have conceded four or more on the first day of the Premier League season.
Gabriel Jesus struck in the first half and Sergio Aguero came off the bench to score a penalty to add to a brilliant hat-trick from Raheem Sterling.
However, City were denied another after a goal was disallowed by VAR for the first time in the Premier League, when Sterling was ruled offside by a matter of millimetres.
Then VAR ruled Aguero’s spot-kick, initially saved by Lukasz Fabianski, should be retaken as Declan Rice had encroached into the penalty area. The Argentinian did not make the same mistake twice.
West Ham actually played some slick football for the opening 25 minutes, but still found themselves on the end of another hiding – in five visits to the London Stadium, City have scored 22 and conceded once.
But despite the result, Pellegrini told talkSPORT’s Sam Matterface there is plenty to be positive about for West Ham fans.
“I think for the first 45 minutes, we played really well,” he said. “Similar as Manchester City, they didn’t create chances, we had lots of possession of the ball.
“But we were vey unlucky in their first goal because it is so important against City to go one goal down because they had more possession.
“But we conceded that first goal which rebounded off Issa [Diop] and after that in the second half, we have some destructions in their second goal.”
The subject of increased technology in football has caused widespread debate across the globe, with critics complaining VAR removes passion from the game.
However, this is not a sentiment shared by the veteran Chilean, who believes extra help for officials can only be a good thing.
“I think it will be positive,” he added. “In the way we review important mistakes where it is very difficult for the referee to see all of the plays.
“It is not easy to be used, but it is useful.”
Despite facing a team who have accumulated 198 points in the Premier League over the past two seasons, there was a genuine sense of optimism amongst the home supporters.
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Declan Rice, Felipe Anderson and Issa Diop all stayed with the Hammers, despite rumours of moves away, and Pellegrini worked well once again with director of football Mario Husillos to make a number of astute signings.
Club record signing Sebastien Haller was given his full debut by the Hammers and, despite making little impact in the opposition box, his manager is confident the goals will soon flow for the £45million man.
Pellegrini continued: “What you saw in this game is a player who is strong striker that can support the ball very well.
“He will score a lot of goals in the Premier League, he was unlucky not to score today but I am happy with his performance.”