Claret & Hugh: ‘Pellegrini’s hard work mean we start 2019 as a team on the rise’

It’s not been a bad month or two has it?

It’s not been a bad month or two has it? The London Stadium operators appeared to have caved in and given us everything we’ve been after before the team started climbing the league with those three three-goal wins.

Manuel Pellegrini is proving a point or 10 and it’s great to see because this is a class manager showing us what you get for £10million a year, even when you have up to eight key players out injured. The issues surrounding the stadium though haven’t helped anything and although the club’s media department has been regularly hyping up an increase of 3,000 season tickets that’s not really the point.

What the out-of-court settlement really meant to us all was that a war between landlords and tenants, which has disfigured our occupancy, is over and we can all move on into a peaceful future. Pellegrini’s management has for me been quite brilliant. He puts things so simply: ‘I’m building a squad not a team’, ‘I’m not going to change – this is not an experiment’ (after four defeats), and ‘Everywhere we go we will be playing as a big team.’

To have waited patiently for his marquee signing Anderson to find his real form and at the other end of the scale transformed Robert Snodgrass’ game shows the quality of this man. There has been the decision to let the best youngsters train with the first team squad, a move which has seen the emergence of Grady Diangana with the likes of Xande Silva and Nathan Holland very much on the premises at Rush Green.

These developments are the mark of a man who after a lifetime in the game knows exactly what he is doing and by the way an honourable mention for academy director Terry Westley and his staff is due. I like the way he addresses prickly issues making it clear to Reece Oxford he needed to improve fast if he is not to face the exit door whilst publicly telling Andy Carroll he needed to demonstrate he was worth a new deal.

Pellegrini has always had a reputation among journalists as being more than a tad boring as they seek big headlines but the reality is he addresses subjects that need to be addressed if an when they arise. For the first time in many years I can’t sing ‘fortune’s always hiding’ with too much conviction because we are looking like a team on the rise.

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