West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini denies being angry over leaked teams

Jacob Steinberg on 14 September 2018

Manuel Pellegrini has denied that he is angry that his team selections at West Ham are being leaked before games.

West Ham are trying to work out how a Twitter account with the handle @exwhuemployee has revealed the starting lineup for more than 60 matches in succession and believe that the leaks come from a source at their training ground.

Within the club, however, there is a feeling that the issue is an irritation rather than a major cause for concern and Pellegrini attempted to pour cold water on the topic before Sunday’s trip to Everton.

“It’s not true – I’m not angry about that,” West Ham’s manager said. “I’m not aware of the team being leaked. In every team I have managed, the day before the game I work the set pieces so all the players know the day before who will play and who will not.

“So many players can talk with others and I am not keeping the starting XI three or four hours before the game. We work every day so there are a lot of reasons why people can know the team.”

West Ham are bottom of the Premier League after losing their opening four fixtures and Pellegrini said that he was not interested in finding the mole. “I don’t have any idea and I don’t worry about that,” he said. “I worry about trying to win the three points.”

Pellegrini, who confirmed that Jack Wilshere would be unavailable after suffering a sprained ankle in training, does not believe that knowing the team helps his opponents. “I don’t think it’s the most important thing,” he said. “If you’re going to play against Chelsea, Watford or Liverpool, you are sure it will be the same starting XI as they played the last game and they play exactly the same way. I don’t hide too much about the starting XI.”

Defeat at Everton would mean West Ham losing their opening five league games for the first time but Pellegrini insisted that he is not panicking.

“I have been in this position before,” he said. “I started with Villarreal and we had three points from the first 15 and we finished third in the table. After that with Málaga when I arrived in the first season, the team was in the relegation zone. We lost five or six games in a row but we continued in the same way. We were improving every day a little bit more until the results arrived. I am more confident than ever.”

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