An­der­son re­pays Pel­le­grini’s faith

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Sport - - SOCCER - ANDY SIMS

MANUEL PEL­LE­GRINI got the per­for­mance he de­manded from West Ham’s record buy Felipe An­der­son af­ter he helped to sink Burn­ley. The Brazil­ian play­maker was in grave dan­ger of be­ing branded a £42mil­lion flop fol­low­ing some anony­mous dis­plays since his sum­mer switch from Lazio.

Pel­le­grini ad­mit­ted this week that An­der­son’s show­ings needed to im­prove, es­pe­cially af­ter the 25-year-old was hauled off at half-time in the Carabao Cup de­feat by Tot­ten­ham. But it seems An­der­son was lis­ten­ing as two well-taken goals se­cured a de­served 4-2 win for the Ham­mers.

“Yes, I’m de­lighted for him be­cause we know what he can give us,” said Pel­le­grini.

“I said be­fore the game that maybe some play­ers need more time to adapt to the league, but his com­mit­ment has al­ways been 100 per cent. He was the first per­son not happy with his per­for­mances.

“I talked a lot with him, and there was never a chance of him not play­ing to­day. He knew from the be­gin­ning that de­spite play­ing bad against Tot­ten­ham, he was go­ing to play to­day. It was a mas­sive per­for­mance.”

A “crazy game”, as Burn­ley boss Sean Dy­che de­scribed it, be­gan with James Tarkowski gift­ing the open­ing goal to Marko Ar­nau­tovic. The de­fender had clat­tered Ar­nau­tovic mo­ments ear­lier so it was a sweet mo­ment for the Aus­trian who point­edly cel­e­brated in the em­bar­rassed Tarkowski’s face.

West Ham should have been out of sight by half-time but Joe Hart de­nied Ar­nau­tovic, Ben Mee some­how headed An­der­son’s curler off the line and ref­eree Roger East missed a bla­tant penalty af­ter Steven De­four tripped Grady Dian­gana.

It was com­fort­ably West Ham’s most com­mand­ing 44 min­utes of the sea­son, and yet some­how they still went in level at half-time af­ter Jo­hann Berg Gud­munds­son equalised. An­der­son’s first goal, through the legs of Hart, put them back in front but they were pegged back again by Chris Wood’s header. In re­cent sea­sons West Ham would have drawn, or even lost this match, but Pel­le­grini’s in­sis­tence on them play­ing on the front foot paid off with An­der­son’s sec­ond and Javier Her­nan­dez’s stop­page-time strike.

“I try to have a team that don’t play with the score on the board, we have a style of play,” added Pel­le­grini. “You don’t need to con­tinue to play to­wards your own box if you are level or los­ing, you must con­tinue to play in the same way, and I think to­day was a test for the play­ers.”

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