David Moyes has been appointed West Ham manager for a second time after Manuel Pellegrini was sacked.

The Hammers are struggling in 17th in the Premier League, prompting Pellegrini's dismissal following Saturday's 2-1 home defeat to Leicester City.

Former Manchester City boss Pellegrini largely failed to get the best out of a talented group of players as West Ham slipped towards a relegation battle.

They have again turned to Moyes, who guided the London club to safety in the 2017-18 season. He has signed an 18-month contract, West Ham announced on their website.

The former Manchester United manager lifted West Ham to a 13th-placed finish in his previous spell in charge, but his short-term contract was not renewed and Pellegrini was appointed in May 2018.

Moyes, who has also managed Everton and Sunderland in the Premier League, has been out of management since leaving London Stadium.

He said of his return to West Ham: "It's fabulous to be back. It feels great to be home. I've missed being here because I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed being around the stadium and I loved being in this part of the world and I missed the club, so I can't wait to get started.

"I'm feeling very proud that I'm back here at West Ham. But I think more importantly I'll be looking to see what I can do and what I can make improvements to, how we can get some wins with the players and how we can get some quick wins on the field as well.

"I do believe that the squad of players I've got here is a better squad of players than when I took over before, so I am looking forward to working with them.

"I think there's got to be a short-term goal for us just now to get the wins to get us away from the wrong end of the league and what we're going to do over the next six months, then what we're going to do over the next period as well. The start is really focusing on the immediate games."

The next match for West Ham is the New Year's Day home fixture against Bournemouth, who sit just one point and one place better off than Moyes' team.

West Ham joint-chairman David Sullivan is confident the 56-year-old Scot, who was also recently linked with a return to Everton, has the credentials to turn around the club's on-pitch fortunes.

Sullivan said: "David proved in his short time with the club that he was capable of getting results and we believe that he will start moving the club in the right direction once again.

"We are delighted to welcome David back – he knows the club well and he built strong relationships during that time which will be crucial for the work that needs to be done going forward."

David Moyes has been appointed West Ham manager for a second time after Manuel Pellegrini was sacked.

The Hammers are struggling in 17th in the Premier League, prompting Pellegrini's dismissal following Saturday's 2-1 home defeat to Leicester City.

Former Manchester City boss Pellegrini largely failed to get the best out of a talented group of players as West Ham slipped towards a relegation battle.

They have again turned to Moyes, who guided the London club to safety in the 2017-18 season. He has signed an 18-month contract, West Ham announced on their website.

The former Manchester United manager lifted West Ham to a 13th-placed finish in his previous spell in charge, but his short-term contract was not renewed and Pellegrini was appointed in May 2018.

Moyes, who has also managed Everton and Sunderland in the Premier League, has been out of management since leaving London Stadium.

West Ham sacked Manuel Pellegrini following a 2-1 home defeat to a much-changed Leicester City side before Manchester United won at Burnley on Saturday. 

Pellegrini was relieved of his duties following a loss that leaves the London club just a point above the Premier League relegation zone in 17th.

Leicester were thumped 4-0 by runaway leaders Liverpool on Boxing Day after suffering a 3-1 defeat to Manchester City, but got back on track in the capital despite Brendan Rodgers making nine changes – leading scorer Jamie Vardy absent after his wife gave birth.

Goals from Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford gave United a 2-0 win at Turf Moor, where they kept a first clean sheet in 15 league games.

Jose Mourinho's Spurs needed Harry Kane's 83rd-minute penalty to salvage a point in a 2-2 draw against Norwich at Carrow Road.

In the day's earlier matches, Watford's mini-resurgence under Nigel Pearson continued and Carlo Ancelotti made it two wins from as many matches in charge of Everton.

Brighton and Hove Albion were 2-0 winners over Bournemouth, while Southampton and Crystal Palace drew 1-1.

 

Gray makes amends as Leicester end Pellegrini's reign

Losses to City and Liverpool left doubts over Leicester's ability to challenge near the top of the table for the rest of the season, but they showed their squad depth and resilience at West Ham.

Demarai Gray, given a rare start, was presented with a fine chance to open the scoring when Lukasz Fabianski fouled Kelechi Iheanacho, but the goalkeeper saved the resulting penalty on his return from injury.

Iheanacho opened the scoring just before half-time, heading in from close range after Ayoze Perez knocked a delivery back across goal – but Pablo Fornals restored parity a few minutes later, finishing off a lovely move following great work from Felipe Anderson.

Gray made up for his miss from the spot early in the second half, confidently slotting past Fabianski after being released by Perez. West Ham rarely threatened thereafter in what proved to be Pellegrini's last game in charge.

 

United up to fifth

Martial scored his third goal in two Premier League matches as United moved up to fifth.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men broke down Burnley's packed defence with some patient attacking play, forcing the opener just before half-time and doubling their lead in second-half stoppage time through Rashford.

After losing 2-0 at Watford in their previous away game, United delivered the improvements they sorely needed at the back while dominating possession in midfield despite the absence of Paul Pogba, who was rested following his return to fitness, as they built on a 4-1 win over Newcastle United on Boxing Day.

Burnley were looking to make it three league wins from four but failed to recover from an error by full-back Charlie Taylor that led to Martial's strike, squandering a flurry of late opportunities before Rashford scored his 12th league goal of the season.

 

VAR to the fore as Spurs make fortunate escape

Norwich might have been two to the good at half-time were it not for the most marginal of offside calls as Spurs were let off the hook.

Teemu Pukki slotted home on the break, only for VAR to rule him offside seemingly by his armpit after Mario Vrancic had capitalised on a series of defensive lapses to open the scoring in the 18th minute.

Spurs levelled with a free-kick effort from Christian Eriksen just after the break, but Norwich were back in front again by the 61st minute – Toby Alderweireld knocking the ball on to Serge Aurier when tackling Pukki and watching on as it found the back of the net.

But Kane rescued Spurs, as he often does. A clumsy sliding tackle from Christoph Zimmermann on the England striker resulted in a penalty and he swept home from 12 yards.

 

New managers having desired effect

A tense first half between Watford and Aston Villa at Vicarage Road remained goalless until just before the interval, when Ezri Konsa's error allowed

Abdoulaye Doucoure to get a shot away and Troy Deeney converted on the rebound.

Villa were given a boost just before the hour when Adrian Mariappa was shown a second yellow card for appearing to catch Henri Lansbury late, though replays suggested contact was minimal.

But Watford got a second goal in the 67th minute – Deeney smashing in a penalty after he had been barged over by Douglas Luiz, and Ismaila Sarr finished Villa off 19 minutes from time.

Ancelotti is overseeing an improvement at Everton, who beat Newcastle United 2-1 at St James' Park.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin grabbed a brace either side of Fabian Schar's strike, allowing the Toffees to move above their hosts in the table and up to 10th.

 

Seagulls pick off Cherries to arrest slump

Brighton hosted Bournemouth having not won any of their previous four matches in the top flight.

But it did not take them long to establish control against the Cherries – Alireza Jahanbakhsh putting them in front within three minutes by lashing into the bottom-right corner, finally opening his account for the club more than a year after costing a reported £17million.

Brighton thought they had sealed the win just before the hour when Dan Burn slammed home, only for a VAR review to adjudge him to be offside by a shoulder.

But Aaron Mooy did wrap up the victory 12 minutes from time in style, bringing down Leandro Trossard's cross, cleverly beating a defender and coolly slotting home.

Victory moves Brighton above Southampton, who could only salvage a draw at home to Palace, Danny Ings cancelling out James Tomkins' header with 16 minutes to go.

 

Manuel Pellegrini has been sacked by West Ham with the club hovering just above the Premier League relegation zone.

A 2-1 defeat at home to high-flying Leicester City on Saturday proved to be the final straw.

West Ham are just a point above the bottom three and co-chairman David Sullivan said the board had to act.

"It is with great disappointment that we've had to make this decision. Manuel is a gentleman and it has been a real pleasure to work with someone of his calibre," Sullivan said.

"However, it has become clear that that a change is required to get the club back on track in line with our ambitions this season. 

"We felt it was necessary to act now in order to give the new manager as much time as possible to try and achieve that goal."

Pellegrini arrived at the London Stadium in May 2018 on a three-year deal and led the club to a top-10 finish in his maiden campaign. 

However, the Chilean – who guided Manchester City to Premier League glory in the 2013-14 campaign – has seen West Ham lose 10 of their 19 top-flight matches this term despite forking out big sums on the likes of Sebastien Haller and Pablo Fornals in the close season.

Former boss David Moyes is the early bookmakers' favourite to replace Pellegrini, while Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe and Rafael Benitez have previously been linked with the role.

Manchester United could be set to land the most sought-after striker in Europe.

According to a new report, Erling Haaland has identified the Red Devils as his preferred choice from a long list of suitors containing Juventus, Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig.

The teenager met with the two Bundesliga clubs in midweek, but United appear to have moved to the front of the queue.

 

TOP STORY – HAALAND SENDS MESSAGE TO SOLSKJAER

Salzburg star Haaland has told compatriot Ole Gunnar Solskjaer he wants to move to Old Trafford, according to the Mirror.

United have been linked with the 19-year-old for several months and the Norwegian connection could lead him to the Premier League.

However, Haaland's high-profile agent Mino Raiola reportedly wants to keep all options on the table as the January transfer window moves nearer.

The striker's father, Alf-Inge, was said to have visited United's training ground in November, while Haaland held talks with Bundesliga teams Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig this week.

 

ROUND-UP

- Inter's firm interest in Fiorentina winger Federico Chiesa could lead to a transfer tug-of-war with Serie A title rivals Juventus, according to CalcioMercato.

- The Nerazzurri have been linked Alessandro Florenzi, but Atalanta are now in pole position to sign the Italy international if he leaves Roma in January, says Gazzetta dello Sport.

- Rest time might be at a minimum for Kylian Mbappe when the club season winds down. According to Le Parisien, French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet will give the Paris Saint-Germain star the chance to compete at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, which begin less than two weeks after the Euro 2020 final.

- Chelsea are considering launching a January bid for Leeds United loanee Ben White, claims the Daily Mail. Brighton and Hove Albion, White's parent club, are reportedly willing to accept offers of £25million.

- Mundo Deportivo suggests LaLiga heavyweights Barcelona are monitoring Thiago Alcantara's situation amid rumours the midfielder has become unhappy at Bayern Munich. Thiago swapped Barca for Bayern in 2013.

- West Ham's victory over Southampton will not be enough to save Manuel Pellegrini from the sack, says the Daily Star. Carlo Ancelotti and David Moyes are among the possible replacements.

Everton are set to make the first move for Carlo Ancelotti.

The Toffees will reportedly begin talks with the Italian following his departure from Napoli on Tuesday.

Ancelotti was sacked three hours after a 4-0 win over Genk, which confirmed the Serie A club's place in the Champions League knockout rounds.

 

TOP STORY – EVERTON TO RIVAL ARSENAL FOR ANCELOTTI

Everton will waste no time in opening contract talks with free agent Ancelotti in the wake of his Napoli exit, according to Sky Sports.

Managerless Arsenal are also said to be considering the 60-year-old former Chelsea, Milan and Real Madrid boss as a possible replacement for Unai Emery.

But the Toffees could get the jump on their Premier League rivals after Shanghai SIPG's Vitor Pereira pulled out of the race to succeed Marco Silva, although David Moyes reportedly remains an option to take charge on an interim basis.

Ancelotti has won the Champions League three times as a coach and secured league titles in England, France, Germany and Italy.

ROUND-UP

- Napoli could announce the appointment of Gennaro Gattuso on a short-term contract as soon as Wednesday, according to CalcioMercato.

- Ex-Everton manager Moyes and former Brighton and Hove Albion boss Chris Hughton are in line to replace Manuel Pellegrini at West Ham if the Hammers lose to Southampton on Saturday, says The Mirror.

- Manchester United are considering Ajax's Donny van de Beek and Saul Niguez of Atletico Madrid as they prepare for Paul Pogba's end-of-season exit, reports the Daily Mail.

- The Daily Mail also claims Leicester City have opened contract talks with rumoured Manchester City target Caglar Soyuncu, who has been in good form this season.

- Barcelona have cooled their interest in Lautaro Martinez due to Inter's demand for €100million, according to ESPN.

Frank Lampard wants to see "a bit of character" as his side aim to bounce back from a 1-0 home defeat to West Ham, while he refused to blame Tammy Abraham's injury for the result.

Abraham missed the game after suffering a hip injury in Chelsea's 2-2 draw with Valencia on Wednesday, and Olivier Giroud took his place in the starting line-up against West Ham.

Lampard also dropped N'Golo Kante to the bench and watched as West Ham exploited large gaps in the midfield to pick up their first win in eight Premier League matches.

Chelsea will face Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge in midweek before travelling to Goodison Park to play Everton on Saturday, and Lampard indicated he would not make knee-jerk reactions to his side's second home defeat of the league season.

"It can't be one player," Lampard told reporters when asked about the importance of Abraham's injury.

"We arrived back late [from Valencia] and I had to think about how we think about it going forward. We aren't going to get through the season with just 10 or 11 players.

"I think the team out there had enough quality to win this game. There haven't been many times I have said we were below par, hardly at all. Today was one of those days.

"But I don’t think it is time for harsh reactions and judgements across individuals or the team as I see it. It is time for a look at a bit of character to see our reaction against Aston Villa."

Manuel Pellegrini said the result vindicated his decision not to change West Ham's style of play despite their dreadful run of form in the lead up to the game.

The Hammers arrived at Stamford Bridge without a win since September 22, and Pellegrini's future at the club had been the subject of media speculation.

He reflected on a difficult two months, saying: "When you don't win, you are a beast, and when you do, you are a genius.

"I was more worried to convince the players. We know we are not getting the results, but we cannot change the style and must not believe everything we are doing is wrong.

"We were consistent and solid throughout the whole game. But we didn't come here to try to draw. That's the way that this team must play."

Freddie Ljungberg's spell as Arsenal interim head coach starts away at Norwich City on Sunday.

If the Swede gets his wish, it will be the humble beginning of a long-term tenure.

The Gunners are reportedly receptive to the idea of keeping him in the dugout, at least until the end of the season.

 

TOP STORY – LJUNGBERG KEEN ON LONG-TERM ARSENAL CHANCE

Could rookie coach Freddie Ljungberg go from hugging the touchline at Highbury to patrolling it permanently at Emirates Stadium?

According to The Guardian, the 42-year-old is determined to prove he should succeed Unai Emery at Arsenal on a full-time basis.

Carlo Ancelotti, Massimiliano Allegri and Mauricio Pochettino are among the many men linked with the role, although club chiefs are reportedly prepared to let Ljungberg stay on for the remainder of the season.

 

ROUND-UP

- Staying in the Premier League and Wolves will fight "tooth and nail" to keep Arsenal coaching contender Nuno Espirito Santo, says the Daily Mail.

- Inter have been linked with a South American double swoop. Antonio Conte wants more depth and the Serie A side are keen on Real Madrid playmaker James Rodriguez and promising River Plate defender Lucas Martinez Quarta, reports La Repubblica.

- Edinson Cavani knows a contract extension will not be forthcoming but the striker wants to stay at Paris Saint-Germain until the end of the season, according to Le Parisien.

- West Ham CEO Karen Brady expressed her support of under-fire manager Manuel Pellegrini in The Sun, although the Daily Mail reports he has just two games to save his job.

- Anything less than victory against Hertha Berlin on Saturday will likely spell the end for Lucien Favre at Borussia Dortmund, says Sky Sport Germany.

Frank Lampard's decision to leave Chelsea as a player has helped him as a manager, according to West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini.

Lampard has overseen a decent start to the season for Chelsea, who are fourth in the Premier League ahead of Saturday's clash against West Ham.

Pellegrini was in charge of Manchester City for Lampard's only campaign at the club in 2014-15 after the former England international decided to end a 13-season stay at Stamford Bridge.

The Chilean, whose team are just three points clear of the relegation zone, said that decision was a good one for Lampard.

"When you want to be a manager you must want to learn as much as you can," Pellegrini told reporters.

"During your career as a player, you see different people who manage the club in different ways and play different football. You can win titles in a number of different ways, and you choose one of those.

"For Frank Lampard, it was a very good experience for his career not to have been always at Chelsea. I know he started with West Ham, but for the most part of his professional career he was at Chelsea.

"To go to Manchester City, to see another way of playing football, that helped him to improve as a manager and I'm very happy for him.

"Every player tries to learn from the way you work. Of course, [as a player] you are always talking with different players, but I think you learn more from seeing."

Lampard said he had taken plenty from managers, including Pellegrini, later in his career.

"As I got older as a player I was probably more attentive of a manager's nature and things they said, how they held meetings and things like that," he said, via The Telegraph.

"It was always something you put into the bank and think, well, that could be how I want to do it or not."

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard says it is a "shame" Unai Emery was sacked by Arsenal after giving his all for the club.

Arsenal announced the 48-year-old's exit on Friday following a seven-match winless run that culminated in Thursday's 2-1 Europa League home loss to Eintracht Frankfurt.

Emery, who lasted just 18 months in the job after succeeding long-serving boss Arsene Wenger, leaves Arsenal eight points adrift of fourth-place Chelsea in the Premier League.

Lampard is sad to see the Spaniard depart but accepts it is part of being a coach.

"I wouldn't say it was inevitable, because nothing's inevitable in football," he said at Friday's pre-match news conference. 

"We're used to a few surprises, especially in the last few weeks. It's not nice. I know the job, I work hard here and everyone wants to be successful. 

"You have a work ethic and an idea, and it doesn't always go the way you want it, and clubs then make a decision. We're all in that category.

"It's a shame because from the outside he looks like a man who gave everything in the role, but now he moves on."

Chelsea's next opponents West Ham are also reportedly considering a managerial change, with Manuel Pellegrini under increasing pressure ahead of Saturday's London derby.

Defeat at Stamford Bridge could spell the end of Pellegrini's tenure, but Lampard insists he will not be any less determined to pick up three points this weekend.

"We all know the ruthless nature of the game now," he said. "Every team, every group of fans, the owner, everybody wants their team to be successful at all times.

"Individually, I understood the ruthless nature of the job being a player and now even more as a manager.

"I will just do my job. West Ham have good individuals, a good team and a good manager. It's a London derby and we have to be ready for them."

Manuel Pellegrini is not overly concerned by "noise" around his West Ham future, preferring to focus on their next Premier League match against Chelsea.

West Ham's encouraging start to the 2019-20 season has long since been forgotten, with Pellegrini's men winless in eight across all competitions, losing their past three league matches and conceding three goals in each.

A miserable run leaves the Hammers one place and three points outside the relegation zone, with pressure quickly building on Pellegrini.

The former Manchester City boss is one of several Premier League managers reportedly on the brink, as David Moyes - also linked with Everton - has been mooted for a potential return to London Stadium.

Addressing the media ahead of a tough trip to Chelsea this weekend, it was put to Pellegrini that the West Ham board could not be happy and "noise" was growing.

The West Ham coach offered a spiky response, telling reporters: "They can't be [happy]? You think that someone can't be happy?

"You are telling me they can't be happy when we aren't winning? You are telling me that? There is always noise around every club that is not winning."

Pellegrini would not be pushed further on his future, adding: "We never talk about the future. We must be very clear with what we do. This is game by game. It's the same answer as when we were winning.

"Football changes every game, so we are working to beat Chelsea and improve. I never think about the future, always about the present."

One key area of concern for West Ham in recent weeks has been the form of goalkeeper Roberto Jimenez, who has been hapless in place of injured star Lukasz Fabianski.

Pellegrini insisted on Thursday that Fabianski would not recover from his hip problem in time to return before Christmas, although he said West Ham "will see" about a change in goal.

David Martin, signed from rivals Millwall in the close-season, would appear the obvious alternative, but Pellegrini still refused to criticise Roberto.

"I am not talking about just the goalkeeper," he said. "Every time you must decide your starting XI, you have the complete week to work with them, with your staff, to talk about different options.

"There's positives and negatives. So, we will do exactly the same as we have done every week."

The battle for Jadon Sancho's signature looks set to begin.

Four high-profile clubs in England and Spain are reportedly monitoring the teenager, one of Europe's brightest prospects.

Aggrieved with recent events at Borussia Dortmund, Sancho could now seek a new home for next season.

 

TOP STORY – CLUBS QUEUE UP FOR 'SCAPEGOAT' SANCHO

Barcelona, Liverpool, Manchester United and Real Madrid are the "leading quartet" of suitors for Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, according to The Athletic.

Former club Manchester City have also asked to be "kept informed" following a string of events that have upset the 19-year-old England winger, notably his first-half substitution in the 4-0 Klassiker loss to Bayern Munich earlier this month.

Sancho's representatives are said to have deemed that move "disgraceful", paving the way for his Dortmund departure at the end of the Bundesliga season.

 

ROUND-UP

Paul Pogba's prolonged absence for Manchester United is part of a concerted effort to force through a January transfer to LaLiga giants Madrid, claims Spanish journalist Paco Gonzalez. Pogba, not sighted since September, is recovering from an ankle injury.

- According to Calciomercato, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is weighing up a move to AC Milan. The 38-year-old is available on a free transfer after leaving MLS outfit LA Galaxy. Ibrahimovic has been linked to Bologna, Tottenham, Napoli and Perth Glory.

West Ham are considering replacing Manuel Pellegrini with Chris Wilder, reports The Mirror. The Hammers are languishing 16th in the Premier League after 13 games, while Wilder's Sheffield United are riding high in sixth. Chris HughtonDavid Moyes and Rafael Benitez are reportedly among the other candidates should West Ham lose patience with Pellegrini.

- Wolves defender Owen Otasowie is wanted by Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain and Bundesliga team Schalke, reports The Sun. 18-year-old centre-back has also been watched by Liverpool and Arsenal.

- The Mirror reports Aston Villa are leading the race to sign Rhian Brewster on loan in January. Brewster, 19, has been unable to break his way into Liverpool's Premier League plans this term. The report states Villa face competition from Crystal PalaceLeeds United and Swansea City.

Jose Mourinho revelled in returning to his "natural habitat" of a Premier League dugout after his Tottenham side earned a 3-2 derby victory at West Ham to give him a winning start.

Mourinho was appointed as Mauricio Pochettino's successor this week and oversaw Spurs' first away Premier League win since January.

Goals from Son Heung-min, Lucas Moura and Harry Kane set up a triumph more comfortable than a scoreline affected by late consolations from Michail Antonio and Angelo Ogbonna suggested, though Declan Rice also had a goal ruled out by VAR.

Mourinho had been out of work since being sacked by Manchester United almost a year ago, while he was seemingly overlooked by big clubs including Juventus.

"The most difficult moments in the 11 months were when I didn't have a pre-season and was looking at other clubs and managers doing it," Mourinho told reporters.

"Sometimes I was at football games and I was thinking 'what am I doing here', in the [directors'] box or the [television] studio. Today I was where I belong, my natural habitat."

Mourinho explained the approach he has taken at Tottenham since taking over from Pochettino, who led the team to last season's Champions League final.

"I tried to give the players comfort, especially in this moment where [there was] a little bit of emotion around it and tried to give them comfort by asking of them things that they can give," the former Chelsea and Manchester United manager added.

"Sometimes we complicate things and ask things of the players that they're not ready to give. I try to ask the boys, Dele [Alli], of course Harry, Son, Lucas, Harry Winks, Eric [Dier], I tried to give them exactly what the easiest job is for them, adapted to their qualities and I think Dele feels very comfortable in this role, with freedom but following principles and things that we do in training.

"So I think they're fine. We have a game in two days [against Olympiacos on Tuesday]. I think we can go and win that match at home and qualify in the Champions League and I think the mood becomes high for the boys."

Pressure is growing on West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini after a sixth loss in seven Premier League games, with backup goalkeeper Roberto Jimenez continuing to struggle deputising for Lukasz Fabianski.

"We need to win the next games, the media asks the same question," said Pellegrini, whose side are away to in-form Chelsea next weekend. 

"We must win the next game and then we will see what happens. These are not the results we expected, especially at home. It is a tight Premier League this season but we need to improve in all of our play."

Asked about Roberto's poor form, the goalkeeper conceding three times for the third league game in a row, Pellegrini added: "I do not want to talk about the goalkeeper."

Manuel Pellegrini would not deem Jose Mourinho his enemy or his friend as the long-time rivals prepare for a Premier League reunion on Saturday.

Pellegrini's struggling West Ham welcome Tottenham and their freshly installed head coach Mourinho to London Stadium this weekend, reprising a rivalry that has simmered for a decade.

Mourinho was publicly courted by Real Madrid before being appointed at the Santiago Bernabeu in 2010, replacing Pellegrini despite the sacked Chilean having led Los Blancos to a then club-record haul of 96 points as they finished runners up to Barcelona in LaLiga.

Pellegrini resumed his career at Malaga, with Mourinho pointedly observing, "If [Madrid] get rid of me, I will go to a big club in the Premier League or Serie A."

Indeed, both ended up at big Premier League clubs, with Pellegrini winning the title in 2013-14 at Manchester City before Mourinho's Chelsea succeeded them as champions the following season.

Mourinho repeated a wilful mispronunciation of "Mr Pellegrino" when referring to his opposite number, who claimed Chelsea played "like a small team, like Stoke" during a 1-1 draw at the Etihad Stadium in September 2014.

Pellegrini has won four and drawn three of the pair's 14 meetings, prevailing in their most recent encounter when West Ham beat an embattled version of Mourinho's Manchester United 3-1.

"Maybe I can think a different way, but he is not my enemy," Pellegrini told a pre-match news conference on Thursday.

"Everyone has their options to play football in the way they want and say what they want to say. You cannot always be criticising.

"That's why he is not my friend, but he is not my enemy. We have different ways of thinking about [everything], that's the only difference that we have.

"Maybe [I will have a drink with him]. We have been together a lot of times out of football together. I repeat, he is not my enemy."

Pellegrini expressed sympathy for Mauricio Pochettino, whose sacking kicked off a whirlwind 11 hours at Tottenham that concluded with Mourinho's appointment.

"Tottenham have a very good team with important players. Being outside of Tottenham, you cannot know what has happened there, but the results were not what Tottenham are used to having," he said.

"Now they have a new manager, unfortunately for Pochettino, because I think he was a manager who did very good work in a lot of years in Tottenham.

"I do not know the reason why he was sacked but now they have another experienced manager in Jose Mourinho, who will always give important things to his teams.

"[Mourinho] is just in charge of the team for two days so I don't think he can change too much. They will play in a similar way.

"That is not an important problem for us to solve, we must give a good performance as a team."

Of more pressing concern to Pellegrini is a run of two points from West Ham's past six Premier League matches since beating Mourinho's former employers from Old Trafford in September.

It leaves the Hammers languishing in 16th, a point and two places below Tottenham.

"I have had 33 years in this profession, I know football," Pellegrini added. "As I have said, my pressure I put on myself is bigger than any other pressure."

West Ham's midfield could be bolstered by Jack Wilshere and club captain Mark Noble, who trained untroubled this week following respective groin and ankle complaints.

Forward Michail Antonio might also be in contention after almost three months out with a hamstring injury.

Manuel Pellegrini is happy to see Adrian making an immediate impact at Liverpool but would have liked to have kept the goalkeeper at West Ham.

Adrian left London Stadium as a free agent at the end of last season and signed for European champions Liverpool, replacing Simon Mignolet as Alisson's back-up.

But an injury to Alisson in the Premier League opener against Norwich City saw Adrian quickly thrust into the action at Anfield.

And on just his first start for Liverpool, the Spaniard proved their UEFA Super Cup final hero with a decisive penalty shoot-out save from Chelsea's Tammy Abraham on Wednesday.

Adrian had been restricted to cup appearances last season, with Lukasz Fabianski the West Ham number one, but Pellegrini still sought to keep the 32-year-old.

"I'm happy for him because he played a lot of years here at West Ham," Pellegrini told a news conference, reflecting on Adrian's display against Chelsea. "He's a very good goalkeeper.

"For different reasons, he couldn't find an arrangement to continue here. We wanted him here because not only is he a good goalkeeper, he's a good player for the squad also.

"He had some problems at the start of the season, so signing for Liverpool and having this performance, I'm very happy for him."

Adrian spent six years at West Ham, largely operating as the club's first choice prior to Fabianski's 2018 arrival.

The former Real Betis man is set to continue in the Liverpool goal against Southampton this weekend, with Alisson out for "the next few weeks" - as confirmed by Jurgen Klopp.

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