Date published: Friday 30th November 2018 12:57
The Hammers head to Newcastle on Saturday, the first of seven fixtures which might be viewed as winnable games for Pellegrini’s side. Indeed, only Watford of West Ham’s December opponents are in the top half of the Premier League table.
Pellegrini has enjoyed a mixed start to his tenure at West Ham, drawing against Chelsea and beating Manchester United, but suffering heavy defeats to Liverpool, and more recently Manchester City, who ran out 4-0 winners at the London Stadium last weekend.
Next up for the Chilean will be a trip to St James’ Park where he will face a team high on confidence following three successive victories. Rafael Benitez’s Magpies are one place ahead of West Ham in 13th, albeit on goal difference.
But Pellegrini, 65, does not believe there is any greater importance surrounding his side’s – on paper at least – easier festive fixtures.
“For me there is always pressure,” he said. “It is exactly the same.
“I never divide the games into ones you can win or ones you can lose, because we only try to win.
“We’ve had good games against big teams, and played not so well against teams around us, so it is important to have a strong mind and understand that every game is difficult.
“Our mentality is to understand there are no weaker teams and we have to play our best at all times.
“Newcastle started the season badly, but they have a good team, and maybe their position now in the table is more realistic for the squad they have.”
Pellegrini, who could be boosted by the return of Jack Wilshere to his squad following a 10-week injury lay-off, will have Marko Arnautovic available after he picked up a knock in the closing minutes of the defeat against City.
But the Hammers boss admitted he has concerns over the right-back slot. Pablo Zabaleta, 33, is the only recognised player available in that position with Ryan Fredericks and Sam Byram both sidelined through injury.
“For his age it is impossible for Pablo to play seven games in December,” Pellegrini added.
“First we have to win at Newcastle with Pablo, and then we need to work out what we are going to do, maybe using different players.”