(Reuters) - West Ham United manager Manuel Pellegrini said he hopes their midweek League Cup thrashing at the hands of third-tier Oxford United was simply an “accident”.
The Hammers, who visit Bournemouth on Saturday, have made a bright start to the Premier League season. They are fifth in the standings, unbeaten in their last five matches with three wins including last weekend’s dominant 2-0 victory over Manchester United.
Yet Pellegrini’s decision to make nine changes for Wednesday’s trip to League One side Oxford backfired as West Ham suffered an embarrassing 4-0 defeat.
“For the moment we are doing well but we had an experience against Oxford where if you reduce your intensity they score goals,” Pellegrini told a news conference.
“I hope it was an accident and we must return to play 100 percent. I don’t think you can make a decision on one game.
“At this moment we’re in fifth position. Sometimes you must try to reach that position, in this moment we are (in it), so we must try to keep it. The best way of doing that is winning.”
Sixth-placed Bournemouth are also enjoying a solid start to the league campaign, winning their last two matches 3-1 against Everton and Southampton.
Pellegrini, who has made no secret of their ambition to finish in the top-six, which would guarantee European football next season, said his players will not curb their attacking instincts at the Vitality Stadium.
“They play offensive football, with two strikers and another attacker on the left,” Pellegrini said.
“We know that we must concentrate in defence, but as always we are going to go for the three points. We will try to attack from the first minute and add three points more.”
Manuel Lanzini will return to the West Ham squad this weekend after recovering from a foot injury, but Michail Antonio and Winston Reid are still ruled out.
Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis