Fabian Balbuena, one of nine summer recruits at a total cost of £100 million, says West Ham must stop squandering possession if they are to rise from the bottom of the Premier League table.
Manuel Pellegrini takes his side to Everton on Sunday on the back of four straight league defeats, a humiliating return to English football for a title winner in 2014 with Manchester City.
Defeats at Liverpool and Arsenal have happened to many a West Ham manager, but home reverses at the hands of Bournemouth and Wolves are not so easily excused by supporters who remain less than enamoured with both the club’s owners and rented stadium. Paraguay centre-back Balbuena has featured in all four Premier League games so far, in which 10 goals have been conceded.
The 27-year-old, a £3.5 million signing from Brazilian club Corinthians, urged his team-mates to solve the problem by keeping hold of the ball.
“We haven’t been able to have the possession we would want to,” he said. “If we do, we’ll have more chances to manage the flow of the game and be more dangerous.”
Pellegrini agreed. “Of course, we are losing too many balls during the games – having good possession allows you to rest and create space a little bit more.”
Pellegrini will be without forward Javier Hernandez and midfielder Jack Wilshere at Goodison Park, where West Ham have managed to win just once, in March 2016, over the past 13 years. Hernandez is ill while Wilshere has an ankle injury.
“These first few months working with Manuel Pellegrini have been very good,” added Balbuena. “We are still learning from his experience and we hope that the work we did throughout the pre-season and what we do now can give us results.”
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