Has West Ham United captain Mark Noble just driven the final nail in Manuel Pellegrini’s coffin ahead of the crunch clash at Southampton?
West Ham head to the South Coast knowing they need a win to keep Pellegrini in the job.
One win in the last 11 games has seen West Ham nosedive from third in the Premier League to the brink of the relegation zone.
As a result Pellegrini’s job is under threat with a host of managers being linked as potential replacements.
Stubborn Pellegrini’s tactics under the microscope
Pellegrini’s tactics and team selection have been questioned by fans and pundits alike over the last two months.
And captain Noble has not hidden his own forthright views either.
Noble questioned the influence of his under fire manager before Monday night’s defeat to Arsenal.
Speaking in his somewhat controversial column in The Evening Standard, Noble said Pellegrini’s message was simply not getting through to his teammates, who keep making the same mistakes time and again.
It wasn’t the first time Noble had criticised Pellegrini, and it appears it wasn’t the last either.
Noble takes ANOTHER swipe at manager’s expansive philosophy
Now in his latest Evening Standard column ahead of the Saints clash Noble has publicly criticised the team’s tactics yet again, despite knowing full well the pressure the Chilean is under.
Noble suggested – not for the first time – that West Ham need to move away from Pellegrini’s expansive football and focus on being solid instead.
West Ham’s official website regurgitated some of Noble’s column describing it as ‘typically honest.
But tellingly the club omitted the parts where Noble criticises Pellegrini’s tactics.
“Teams in the Premier League now seem to be obsessed with playing out from their six-yard box and asking players to do something they are not comfortable with,” Noble told The Evening Standard.
‘We should have stayed compact’
“Defending your goal has become uncool. I love playing expansive football but if you sat in a room with Martin Keown, Tony Adams, Lee Dixon and Nigel Winterburn and said to them, “You get the ball and play out from the back,” they would laugh at you. Their reply would be, ‘Get up the other end of the pitch, we play in their half, not ours’.
“When I was playing for the Under-11s, the manager would shout out: “Win your tackles, your headers, your battles and the rest will take care of itself.”
“Nothing has changed. Conceding three goals in such a short space of time against Arsenal was crazy. But the mistake we made, after we had taken the lead, was thinking we could go on to score three or more. We should have stayed compact and hit them on the counter because they had to open up and try to score… if you keep going for it, you leave yourself open at the back.”