Manuel Pellegrini insists on playing attacking football but will he be able to transform West Ham? Adam Bate take a look at the veteran coach's credentials for the job and the challenges ahead...
"I always play attacking football."
That was the line from Manuel Pellegrini that will have West Ham supporters intrigued about the possibilities next season. The Chilean talked of playing "football that will delight the fans" and that is, of course, precisely what they will want to hear. The 64-year-old coach might not be the freshest of faces but he does come with considerable pedigree.
For instance, Pellegrini has already done something that neither West Ham as a club nor any of their previous managers have achieved - he has lifted the English title, one of only 10 coaches to do so in the Premier League era. His Manchester City side even scored 102 goals en route to winning that trophy during the 2013/14 season, his first in English football.
But if West Ham fans are wondering how transferable that achievement is to life at the London Stadium, it is worth remembering Pellegrini has demonstrated an ability to entertain everywhere he has been. After winning titles in Chile and Argentina, he succeeded in producing a plethora of attacking teams during his nine-year stay in Spain.
"He tries to keep the ball and his teams always play good," Pep Guardiola once said of his predecessor at City. "I would like to be like him. No matter which team he is training, his teams always play in the same way. So his fingerprints, his footprints, his trademark on his teams is always there. It happened at Villarreal, at Malaga and at Real Madrid."
This is what will be of more interest to David Sullivan. It's not necessarily his 96-point season with Real Madrid, a then record for the club as well as another 102-goal campaign. Instead, it is those top-four finishes with Villarreal and Malaga, clubs at which he showcased an ability to take teams to the next level - vastly improving the style of play in the process.
Malaga had finished only a point above the relegation zone prior to Pellegrini's appointment in the summer of 2010 with only Osasuna having a worse pass completion record. But aided by significant investment, he succeeded in transforming their approach. Malaga were among the top-six passers in La Liga for each of his three seasons at the helm.
That is the norm under Pellegrini. Every team that he has coached over the past decade, including, most recently, Hebei China Fortune, have ranked among that top six for passing. As Guardiola suggests, this is a coach with the ability to implement his own style. But that is an ability that will surely be tested to its limits at West Ham given their recent record.
Last season was a struggle. When David Moyes was appointed in November, his focus was on securing the club's Premier League status. Entertainment was not high on the agenda. In truth, but for a brief period in which Dimitri Payet flourished at Upton Park, it has seldom seemed a priority ever since Sam Allardyce took West Ham back up in 2012.
In each of the six seasons since their return to the top flight, the team has ranked among the bottom half of the table for both passing accuracy and possession. Even when they enjoyed relative success during Slaven Bilic's first season in charge, this was achieved through counter-attacking football rather than possession play.
Pellegrini will seek to do it differently. How feasible that is with the players currently at his disposal will be a matter for debate. No team in the Premier League conceded more goals than West Ham last season so there is work to do defensively and the midfield will need to be overhauled too. Keeping Marko Arnautovic and Manuel Lanzini will be important.
In his opening address to supporters, Pellegrini referred to bringing in "maybe another four or five players" but while those additions could well be enough to keep the club away from danger, they will need to be high quality to bring about the proposed style changes. Until there is more investment, former West Ham defender Tony Gale is remaining cautious.
"I will only be happy when West Ham release the funds to buy players because managers are only as good as the players they are working with," Tony Gale tells Sky Sports. "Let's hope this isn't a smokescreen by the West Ham board so that they don't have to buy players. There is a lot of money in those West Ham coffers and they need to spend it.
"They need major surgery to that football team in the region of £75m to £100m. Money attracts top players. I think they have to back up their position with Pellegrini by giving him that money to spend on players. The whole club needs a turnaround not just the manager and hopefully he is someone who has the experience to convince them of that."
Gale, part of the West Ham team that finished third in 1986, knows all about the club's tradition for playing attractive and entertaining football. That is what the West Ham owners are attempting to tap into once again with the appointment of Pellegrini. His record suggests he can deliver. West Ham's own record of late suggests that it will be easier said than done.
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