sport news Pellegrini on transfer disruption and targeting top six for West Ham

West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini is looking on the bright side after the club's grimmest week of the season.

League leaders Liverpool are in town on Monday, but the winter transfer window, which he wants regulated almost out of existence, is shut. However, Declan Rice has a brilliant future and Europe, he says, still beckons.

First to the misery of being knocked out of the FA Cup by AFC Wimbledon. He describes a 'look at what you could have won' feeling as Wimbledon drew a Championship side in the last 16.

West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini is looking on the bright side after the club's grimmest week

West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini is looking on the bright side after the club's grimmest week

Pellegrini wants the January window changed after uncertainty around Marko Arnautovic

Pellegrini wants the January window changed after uncertainty around Marko Arnautovic

But, with young talent like Declan Rice, Pellegrini wants West Ham in the top six eventually

But, with young talent like Declan Rice, Pellegrini wants West Ham in the top six eventually

'We watched the draw together having dinner ahead of the Wolves game,' he said. 'The reaction when it was Wimbledon v Millwall was, "Oh, look what a chance we've lost", but it's too late now.

'It is something that has happened to every big club and you can say it to the players 10 times before the game, they will never believe you. In football, if you give time and space to any player of a professional level — be it Premier League, Championship or League One — he'll score a goal.

'There is still nothing worse than losing a game, that feeling when you wake up the next morning.'

At least it's now February. At least the transfer window is shut. Pellegrini has been left fuming by clubs showing interest in players, for whom they then don't meet the asking price.

Pellegrini says a rule should be introduced where players cannot play for two clubs in a season

Pellegrini says a rule should be introduced where players cannot play for two clubs in a season

'The transfer window brought a lot of damage to this club. The focus went away from the team, and I'm not just talking about Marko Arnautovic, there were others considering leaving.

'If two clubs are in agreement over a transfer, I accept it, but if it's just one club turning a player's head only to then not offer an amount of money that matches what he's worth, it's different.'

Would he scrap the winter window? 'I would regulate it. Stop clubs doing as many deals as they want to. I would make it so that a player cannot play for two clubs in the same season. It doesn't seem serious to me. Let clubs change one player. Or let them change a player who is injured.

'We've lost Andriy Yarmolenko and Carlos Sanchez for the whole season, so let that be a change. Primarily, I blame the rules that are based on the financial side — the more money that can be earned the better. There has to be some respect for contracts and supporters.

'Secondly, the agents have a responsibility to not be constantly dizzying players' heads, so as to make money. It's fine they do it, but at the end of the season.'

Pellegrini praised Rice, who earned a new five-and-a-half year contract in December

Pellegrini praised Rice, who earned a new five-and-a-half year contract in December

HAMMERS STATS 

Manuel Pellegrini has lost five Premier League games against Liverpool, more than against any other club.

West Ham have conceded four goals in each of their last four Premier League games against the Reds.

Not everyone is looking elsewhere to see where the streets are paved with more gold. Rice signed a new five-and-a-half year contract in December. Was Pellegrini sure as soon as he took over that Rice would play a major part this season?

'No, I wasn't, not 100 per cent,' he said. 'I saw him play well last year but I saw him make a lot of mistakes, too. That's normal in the first season. He has proved himself and shown what an important player he can be. We had a very bad first game against Liverpool and he started that match, but the thing I made clear to him was that the defeat was not because of his performance.

'He has become a big player for us and he has a massive future. He is a mix of technical ability and power and he can play as a holding midfielder, as a midfielder or even a central defender. He always wins his physical duels. He commits very few errors with his passes.

'Perhaps with time he will improve his vision of the whole pitch to improve his passing range because it's one thing to never give the ball away and another to always give the best of all possible passes. He'll improve that in time, but he is already very consistent.'

Can he lead, too? 'There are many ways to lead,' says Pellegrini. 'You can do it with your quality, your record in the game, your personality, by what you say, or by the way you are playing.

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