Anderson Admits He Had To 'Man Up' At West Ham

In an interview with Brazil's top newspaper, O Globo, given just after West Ham United's 2-0 win over Manchester United, Felipe Anderson confided that when he first arrived at the London Stadium he was quite shocked at the lack of protection afforded players by the Referee and their assistants, of course he already knew the pace of the Barclays Premier League would be frenzied, but he admits he was initially 'overcome' by it's sheer physicality.

Fast forward a year from his arrival, and Felipe Anderson is a different beast. The talented Brazilian has added steel to his game, and is no longer a 'luxury' type of player that a manager fears sending out in to a tough encounter, no longer does Anderson get 'roughed up', far from it. Anderson doesn't grimace and look to blame someone else if he loses the ball, instead he tracks back, tackles and puts in a shift!

Now this reference to 'putting in a shift' is not confined to Anderson, the whole team has begun to play as one, and the results prove it. The point is, fans love a grafter particularly at home, if they see the effort they feel more inclined to be more supportive, this in turn has the knock on effect of making the London Stadium far more like a football ground than a soul less dome.

The quality addition of Pablo Fornals and the addition of Sebastian Haller have removed the burden of being the club's most expensive player from Anderson, and he is now playing with freedom and boy does it show. Felipe is now able to waltz through defenders safe in the knowledge that he has proper back up, runners left and right and most importantly, options. Having good players around him makes him even better, but it is not just Anderson who is benefiting from the extra quality around him, Skipper Mark Noble has been playing out of his skin, in a way similarly to how he played while Dimitri Payet was strutting his stuff in his heyday.

Manuel Pellegrini has gone about his business aided by the wonderfully mysterious but effective Mario (The Huse) Husillos, the Hammers manager has even managed to surreptitiously get majority share holder David Sullivan to channel his 'inner self' via a Hammers website in the guise of an 'insider'. The result is while information still leaks more than it should, there is a damage limitation factor built in, and the results so far are excellent.

Pelle and the Huse do the business, David Sullivan and David Gold get to bask in the glory, and why not? They have backed their manager, probably a bit more than they would have wished, but are now seeing the seeds beginning to grow of their 'big plan'. If the hierarchy can resist trying to make themselves more high profile, particularly if the club do achieve qualification for the European competitions, then there is no reason why their club, and it's hundreds of thousands of supporters world wide, shouldn't see their club clashing with the giants of Europe.

West Ham United, it's players and it's staff have the golden opportunity, particularly this season, to make the jump in to the top six. Chelsea are in transition, Tottenham's transfer policy of not buying players is beginning to bite, and of course Manchester United are 'up the creek without a paddle'. That is three of the accepted 'top six' who will struggle this season, it is generally accepted that Liverpool and Manchester City will be the top two teams so there are possibly four places up for grabs.

Finally, media talk that has been suggesting the Irons will not be discussing extending Manuel Pellegrini's contract until it is approaching the end of it's final year, this is not the case. Similarities have been drawn between and comparisons made regarding Slaven Billic's first season of over achievement being followed with mediocrity, and Manuel Pellegrini's, with the board apparently reluctant to offer a contract extension should things go belly up.

There is a parallel here, the board were reluctant to hand Declan Rice a substantial contract due to their past experiences with Reece Oxford, Oxford was given a huge deal for such a young player in order to fend of interest from many high profile clubs. The move back fired and the young man became a bit of a 'billy big bollocks' which didn't endear him with the rest of the squad, and he has now moved on. Rice, on the other hand, has become a consummate professional and is paying back the faith shown in him by his manager and the powers that be.

Next up, Oxford in the 'Elk' Cup, Manuel Pellegrini will have to balance his selection knowing that his team have to travel to Bournemouth this weekend, field a weakened team and get turned over, or risk injury to his top players by playing them? Pelle will probably keep his 'big guns' on the bench while giving a run out to players who need game time, there is even a rumour that Winston Reid, the forgotten man, the Kiwi warrior, might make his return to competitive football for the first time in nearly eighteen months, we wish him well. - Ed

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