West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini has laid out his ambitions for next season by insisting the club must target breaking into the Premier League’s top six.
The former Manchester City boss has brought stability to the London Stadium during his first season with the club, guiding them to 10th in the table as they begin their final 10 games of the season by facing Newcastle on Saturday.
Pellegrini has reinstalled a confidence to West Ham while mixing a blend of new signings, such as the impressive Felipe Anderson, with developing academy products like Declan Rice.
“We are not looking for next season in this moment because we need to finish this season,” Pellegrini said on Friday. “After that we must evaluate what we have done during the whole year, start thinking about the new players.
“The next step is to try to bring in the most amount of young players that we can so we continue having a very good young development squad, and after that to try to reach the top six in the Premier League.
“It will not be easy. Also we need to continue improving our training ground, and having behind us the support of 60,000 fans.”
After a seventh-place finish in 2015-16 under Slaven Bilic, West Ham have failed to push on, with the Croat being sacked last season as the club flirted with the relegation zone, before David Moyes’ tenure ensured their Premier League status was protected.
However, rather than rewarding Moyes with a long-term deal, West Ham appointed Pellegrini, who claimed a Premier League title during his three seasons at the Etihad Stadium.
Pellegrini has urged his players to use the example of Leicester’s title-winning season as proof that the top-six can be breached.
“It is very difficult because you have six big teams who have a lot of money to bring in good new players, and they already have strong squads also. But Leicester did it one season,” Pellegrini said.
“If one club can do it you must try to do it also, but there are a lot of things that you must try to improve season by season, you cannot just do it in one year.”