West Ham United boss Manuel Pellegrini is described by some as dour and uncharismatic.
When things are going well that was seen as a strength. No fuss. No thrills and no drama.
But when West Ham’s season nosedived in October and November that suddenly counted against him.
All the “boring” straight bat answers to press questions at pre and post match conferences suddenly became a stick with which to beat the Chilean.
Can new-look Pellegrini reinvigorate West Ham?
A surprise win over Chelsea at the weekend lifted the gloom.
And we saw a new-look Pellegrini at Stamford Bridge. Perched on the touchline gesticulating and coaching his players through the game. The ‘charming man’ – as he was dubbed by Manchester City supporters – was kicking every ball.
That was not lost on supporters who saw an elite manager, who has managed some of the top clubs in Europe, desperate to do well for their club.
During his difficult run he has bitten back at supposed leaks from boardroom level.
He has refused to play the victim or the whipping boy.
Pellegrini has stood up for his principles and even questioned whether West Ham’s ambitions matched his own after a paltry £25million spend in the summer.
Read more: Irked Manuel Pellegrini suggests he is not the problem at West Ham as under fire boss comes out fighting
And in his pre-match press conference for Wolves Pellegrini went straight for the press who had been so quick to jump on West Ham’s dismal form.
Hammers boss has the fire in his belly, but will his team match it on the pitch?
“What is my position in the rankings to be sacked?” Pellegrini asked the gathered press, taking everyone by surprise (as reported on Sky Sports News and by Football London).
“First, still? Me? No more? It was only for one game? I like to be number one.”
Pellegrini clearly has the fire in his belly.
West Ham fans are hoping his players are the same.
The Hammers must ensure the win at Chelsea was evidence they have turned the corner rather than the same old West Ham only turning up for big games.
It is only a couple of hours until we find out.