LIVERPOOL: West Ham United coach Manuel Pellegrini said the 3-1 victory at Everton yesterday that moved his side off the foot of the Premier League table was the perfect way to celebrate his 65th birthday.
Pellegrini’s new side played some fine, flowing football as they picked up their first points of the season on Merseyside, on the same day Pellegrini turned pension age in the United Kingdom.
“I was not worried about my birthday today — I just wanted to win the game — it was the best gift my players could give me,” Pellegrini said.
“We believe in what we are doing and we are not going to change. I said last time after we lost I will accept advice but I was not going to change what we are doing.”
Andriy Yarmolenko put West Ham in command with two goals inside the first 31 minutes on his first Premier League start, with the Ukraine international taking time to settle in England prior to his double at Goodison Park.
“I know what the Premier League is and Andriy didn’t arrive here ready to play in the Premier League,” Pellegrini added. “He has a lot of quality, he has demonstrated that, but he needs more work.”
“We preferred to work with him a couple of weeks and when I saw he was ready, he needed to demonstrate his quality. I think that today he did that.”
The only negative questions Pellegrini was forced to answer were to do with forward Lucas Pérez who, according to broadcaster Sky Sports, refused to warm up in order to come on as a substitute in the second half.
“I called Lucas to get ready to play, but Antonio was already ready so played as I needed to make the change,” Pellegrini added. “I don’t have any problem with the player.”