West Ham United suffered a rather disappointing 2-0 defeat at Cardiff City on Saturday afternoon, which saw the Hammers struggle to work their magic in front of goal, ultimately failing to create any worthy goal scoring opportunities.
The result, however, also emphasised that midfielder Manuel Lanzini still has a lot of work to do to get back to his best following his long injury layoff, which only saw him make his first appearance of the campaign against Fulham at the end of February.
Since then, manager Manuel Pellegrini has tried to ease the 26-year-old back into the team, starting him in their previous two matches.
But, it was evident on Saturday that Lanzini has to get used to playing in a team environment again and will need to adapt as soon as possible to the type of game Pellegrini wants him to play.
Of course, the only way for a player who was out for such a long period of time to get back into the thick of the action is to play and get as many minutes under the belt as possible.
However, he will need to work closely with the manager at the training ground to get the full grip of tactics that Pellegrini wants to implement in the team.
Lanzini started in the centre of the midfield, next to captain Mark Noble on Saturday, but was replaced in the 58th minute of the match, shortly after Cardiff scored their second goal.
Michail Antonio was the man who replaced him as Pellegrini clearly felt Lanzini wasn’t being creative or effective enough for his team to get on the score-sheet.
The manager also threw on Samir Nasri for Noble at the same time, trying to be more attacking but it was all in vain as Neil Warnock’s men hung on for the remainder of the match.
Pellegrini will now have a difficult task in deciding how he is going to use Lanzini for the final stages of the season in order to get the best outcome for both the player and the club.
West Ham welcome Huddersfield Town to the London Stadium this coming Saturday and their fans will expect them to not have a lot of troubles seeing off the Terriers.
West Ham fans, do you think Manuel Lanzini will ever get back to his best? Join the discussion by commenting below…