West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini is “not worried about relegation” from the Premier League even though his side are above the bottom three by only a point.
Monday’s 3-1 home defeat by Arsenal was a seventh loss in nine games.
The Hammers travel to third-bottom Southampton on Saturday knowing defeat could leave them in the drop zone.
“In our last five games at home we got one draw and conceded three goals in our last three. I am more worried about that,” said the Chilean.
Some people within the club believe Pellegrini, 66, could lose his job if the Hammers are beaten at St Mary’s.
However, the club have repeatedly stressed they like to honour contracts, and the deal Pellegrini signed in May 2018 does not expire until 2021.
- Ljungberg working on ‘game-by-game basis’
- Football Daily: Ljungberg’s Arsenal pull three points out of the bag
The Hammers have spent all but one season in the top flight since 2005. This is their eighth campaign since their last promotion and they have never finished below 13th.
Following their controversial move to the 60,000-capacity London Stadium in 2016, Hammers chairman David Sullivan has give Pellegrini – appointed to succeed David Moyes in 2018 – around £165m to build a squad capable of challenging for European qualification.
Yet, with the exception of the bottom three, West Ham have the worst goal difference in the Premier League. Only four clubs have conceded in excess of their 28 goals, half of which have come in the past six games.
Striker Sebastien Haller, their £45m record signing, has scored once since August and after starting on the bench against Arsenal, the Frenchman made no impact after he was introduced 20 minutes from time.
Pellegrini accepts that, as manager, “you take responsibility for results”.
“For 65 minutes there was only one team on the pitch,” he added. “But we must score the second goal to decide the game. If Arsenal had scored three times from seven chances, that would be different. The game was decided in three minutes. We need to concentrate more, be more consistent and more solid.”
There were thousands of empty seats visible at the final whistle after a game in which the Hammers had led through Angelo Ogbonna’s deflected header, only for three goals in nine second-half minutes from Gabriel Martinelli, Nicolas Pepe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to transform the game.
Those West Ham fans who were left greeted the end of the match with whistles and jeers.
Nevertheless, Pellegrini says they are still behind his team.
“If you get one point from five games at home and concede three goals in three games, you can’t expect them to be happy and not to boo,” he said.
“But I don’t agree the fans are not behind the team. There are 60,000 here for every game. If they weren’t behind the team, the stadium would be empty.”