Dec 26 (Reuters) - West Ham United manager Manuel Pellegrini intends to rotate his squad to cope with a growing injury list and get back to winning ways in the Premier League at Southampton on Thursday.
Pellegrini’s side claimed four straight league victories before a 2-0 defeat by Watford put them back in the bottom half of the table.
The east London side are set to be without eight first-team players as they look to round out their first half of the league season against a rejuvenated Southampton, who have won their last two matches under new manager Ralph Hasenhuttl.
“We need to play seven games during December and after that six more in January,” Pellegrini told reporters.
“Unfortunately for us we have eight players who are not an option to return. Maybe Marko Arnautovic can return soon, I don’t know about Southampton.
“We need to see now about the injuries to Chicharito (Javier Hernandez) and Fabian (Balbuena). That’s a big problem but we need to trust the squad and make a good rotation of the players.”
After losing their first four league games of the campaign, West Ham have slowly adapted to Pellegrini’s attacking philosophy to collect 24 points in 18 games, seven more than at this stage last season.
“If you had told me that after the four games we lost we could finish on 27 points - I think that would be a good first round for us,” the manager added.
“We know that we have to play a good game against a team who have won their last two. We will try to recover the points that we lost at home.” (Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)