Manuel Pellegrini has admitted it was a mistake to start Fabian Balbuena for the 5-0 loss against Manchester City in West Ham United’s season opener, as reported by football.london.
The 28-year-old had a disrupted pre-season due to his involvement in the Copa America, but was still used due to the trust the manager had in his ability.
However, Pellegrini has now admitted he was wrong to use the Paraguayan, stating that Issa Diop and Angelo Ogbonna will be his starting centre-back partnership for the foreseeable future.
“That was my mistake to play with him in the first game because I trusted too much in what he can do, but it was too soon for him,” Pellegrini told football.london.
While Balbuena did make 4 clearances against City, he was dribbled past the 1 time that he attempted to make a tackle, while he didn’t manage any interceptions, as per WhoScored.
The 28-year-old also completed 75% of the passes that he attempted during the game, which is 4.4% lower than his average pass success rate from last season.
He certainly wasn’t the only problem the Hammers had on the day, but Balbuena didn’t give a great account of himself, getting a rating of 5.3 for his performance, which was only beaten by Issa Diop’s abysmal 4.9 and equalled by Aaron Cresswell.
Pellegrini is correct that he was wrong to play Balbuena against City, while he is also right in keeping Angelo Ogbonna as part of his main centre-back duo for now, as he has stepped up well, averaging 2 tackles, 5.3 clearances, 1 block and 0.5 interceptions per game.
However, this certainly doesn’t mean the Paraguayan should be written off completely, as he showed last season that he can be an effective defender for the Hammers, averaging 1.7 tackles, 2.3 interceptions, 7.5 clearances and 0.6 blocks per game.
West Ham fans, do you think Balbuena should get back into the side? Join the discussion by commenting below…Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!