West Ham United fans have been disappointed by the club’s inauspicious start to the new season.

Thrashed 5-0 by Manchester City in the opening game, West Ham were arguably worse in a bitty 1-1 draw at Brighton last time out.

Manuel Pellegrini is being questioned by fans for the first time in his tenure.

Some supporters have questioned his transfer dealings and failure to sign new fullbacks and a defensive midfielder.

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Pellegrini being questioned for the first time

Others feel his team selection, tactics and substitutions have been poor.

Andriy Yarmolenko was nowhere to be seen in the squad for the City defeat and had to make do with a place on the bench against Brighton.

That has left some confused over the Ukrainian’s place in the pecking order.

Pellegrini then infuriated fans when he brought on flop Carlos Sanchez with the game in the balance at Brighton.

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Boss makes shock claim over ‘key’ duo

But now the Chilean has made a shock claim that he sees both players as crucial for West Ham this season.


“They are two important players,” Pellegrini told whufc.com.

“Carlos is the only replacement we have for Declan Rice and he is working very hard to recover his performance that he had before his injury.

“Andriy was nine or 10 months without playing one game, so maybe we need some time to fix all the players in their current positions.”

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Mixed feelings for fans

The news that Pellegrini still sees Yarmolenko as a key player will be encouraging for West Ham fans.

But the same cannot be said for Sanchez.

Supporters feel the Colombian, who also flopped in the Premier League with Aston Villa, is a liability.

Fans were desperate for the club to sign a new defensive midfielder to play alongside Rice.

Those pleas fell on deaf ears, though. And it is a source of great frustration for supporters that the club has looked most vulnerable in that area of the pitch thus far.

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