Manuel Pellegrini delighted with Manuel Lanzini's West Ham return
By Adam Goodwin
Last Updated: 23/02/19 7:42pm
Manuel Pellegrini feels Manuel Lanzini can pick up where he left off following his long-awaited return from injury in West Ham's 3-1 win over Fulham on Friday.
Before tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in the summer, Lanzini's last game for the Hammers was in a 3-1 win over Everton and involved him scoring two goals on the final day of the 2017/18 season.
There were fears that he would miss the entire campaign, but the 26-year-old returned earlier than expected and received a standing ovation when he came on in the 76th minute at the London Stadium.
It was Lanzini's first appearance under Pellegrini, and the West Ham boss has been impressed with the desire his fellow South American has shown to return to the starting XI.
"Manuel has worked very hard during the last few weeks," Pellegrini said.
"But over these two last weeks with us he demonstrated to me that he was not afraid of playing again and he did it very well."
Lanzini's return capped the win over Fulham, which leaves the Hammers just four points off Watford in seventh place.
If Manchester City or Manchester United win the FA Cup, seventh would be good enough to take West Ham into the Europa League qualifying rounds.
Michail Antonio - who scored West Ham's third goal on Friday - has spoken about how important the Argentine's return could be to them potentially finishing in a European spot.
"They call Manu 'the jewel' and that's exactly what he is," said Antonio.
"He is a special player and hopefully he can come back and keep pushing us up the table."